Vocational education, also known as vocational training, is designed to equip a person for specific commercial or industrial occupations. It is an alternative for people who do not resound with traditional academic education. Hence, instead of opting for school and college, these students can prepare themselves for a specific craft or a trade through vocational training. The student can obtain this type of education and training in a technical school or sign up for an on-job training program. On-job training programs are a more informal approach to vocational training, as the student acquires the skills while working on the job.
Vocational training vs. academic training
While academic training focuses on the broad knowledge of a topic and tackles each aspect of the subject theoretically, vocational training is much different. It focuses on teaching the specific knowledge and skills necessary to practice a craft or learn technical skills. A prime example of vocational training is learning to become a chef or practicing to become an engineer. To understand the concept of vocational education more, let us discuss some of its types.
Types of vocational education
1. Work-ready training
Work-ready vocational education focuses on training the students to be ready for work upon graduation. It includes practical training to learn the essential industry-relevant skills and acquire the necessary education to carry out that work. This aspect allows them to start working immediately after their graduation. In many cases, students take up an apprenticeship after their training. However, some students opt for an online general MBA program alongside their training to be well-prepared for the corporate world after graduation. Given online MBA programs focus on instilling essential business skills, graduates can easily enter the business world.
Vocational education settings
The vocational education system has many different settings to acquire professional training. But these settings tend to vary according to the trade the student wants to pursue. However, vocational education takes place in one of these places, or a combination of them, which include:
- Vocational or trade learning schools
- Technical secondary school
- Community college
- A high-school vocational training program
- On-job training
- Stand-alone courses
While it’s still not a common practice, schools, colleges, and universities are now beginning to include vocational education programs in addition to academic programs.
Typically, a student who completes a vocational education program receives a diploma or a certificate. However, in some cases, if they are pursuing some technical vocational education, they may get an associate’s degree.
Why vocational education is need of the hour
In recent times, vocational training has been more celebrated since it focuses on practical work instead of theoretical knowledge that serves little purpose. So, students who are not keen to attend classes that focus on the broader theoretical frameworks now prefer vocational education due to their practical training methods.
Now, let us discuss the importance of vocational education.
1. Makes the student job-ready
As vocational education focuses on skill learning and practical applications, students hone the necessary skills and methods to perform a specific job. It means that upon completing the training program, the hands-on experience allows them to secure a job immediately. This noticeable aspect distinguishes vocational training from academic training as students leave the place ready to work with all the necessary skills and experience.
2. It’s based on competency
Unlike academic education, where a student has to earn passing grades to move ahead, vocational training focuses on competency. The student’s performance should meet a certain practical criterion, which defines their competency in the specific field. As a result, the training is also focused on preparing the students to improve their skills to meet said criteria.
So, when the vocational program ends, students can demonstrate their performance. If it is deemed satisfactory, they can pass on.
3. Helps build strong networks
In almost every industry, having strong networks plays a crucial role in securing a job. Such connections and relationships allow people to find jobs related to their expertise, learn about upcoming work and opportunities, and build a successful career. Therefore, vocational education provides students with an excellent opportunity to find successful people from the relative field and build connections. These networks and connections help enhance their training experience and professional aspects. And since students spend more time doing practical work instead of learning history and theories, students develop critical skills and closer relationships with their peers and trainers. Afterward, these peers aren’t just people the student attends classes with but lifelong professional partners. Moreover, these peers progress in their careers and become reliable connections for the future.
Apart from that, the students also get to acquaint themselves with their trainers and professors. While working with their trainers in a hands-on technique, they learn all skills of the trade.
4. Economic benefits
Students who attend vocational education also have higher chances of receiving economic benefits. For starters, they don’t have to spend a whole fortune on their education compared to academic education fees. But they still receive a field-focused education that prepares them for the professional job. In addition, vocational education that the students take to acquire a certification or a diploma doesn’t take as many years as academic education.
Not only that, but students who graduate after taking specialized vocational programs have a higher chance of acquiring lucrative jobs. The reason is that when a person has a certificate or a diploma, the employers know that the candidate has plenty of experience with hands-on training in a related field. It makes it easier to assess their competence. Hence, all these aspects combine to give the students substantial economic benefits and opportunities if they choose to graduate after acquiring vocational education. Lastly, students with these certificates or diplomas have a higher chance of progressing rapidly in their careers than others.
Every vocational education program has some units of competency against which a student is judged. These units focus upon knowledge and skills that a person may need to work in a specific trade. Moreover, these programs also include some competency levels that the student works to master during their training. These levels vary according to the technicality and difficulty of the craft. Nonetheless, a student can also benefit from customized vocational training programs which cater to different skills or work positions within a field. Undeniably, vocational education is critical for the present age. It helps students prepare themselves for practical aspects of different professions, thereby improving employment prospects.