Vocational education and training (VET) has been around for a long time, but there are still many misconceptions about what it is and the benefits it brings. Here, we look at some of the common VET myths and find out the facts about this exciting sector.
Myth: VET is only for young people
Reality: VET is for all ages
We often think of vocational education as only taking place at school, or in the form of junior apprenticeship roles. But VET offers a huge range of opportunities for anyone who wants to continue learning, at any stage of life. For those who have a specific employer in mind, many businesses are providing their own vocational training to current and potential employees. For those who want a career change, or to learn more about the potential of their current role, there are thousands of courses available online and at colleges across Europe that will help you to move up the ladder. VET can help people of any age to upskill, reskill and get ahead.
Myth: VET is a second choice
Reality: VET should be the first choice for anyone who wants to fast track their career
In her speech at the 2017 European Vocational Skills Week, Marianne Thyssen, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility said, “I want to make VET a first choice, both for the young and adults who need reskilling.” Indeed, across Europe, vocational education and training is already a first choice for thousands of people. Taking the vocational route means you are much more likely to be work-ready from the moment you finish. You’ll be able to learn all about working life, pick up some vital teamwork and interpersonal skills, and match your talents directly to workplace demand.
Myth: VET limits you to a one-job role
Reality: VET can teach you a range of transferable skills
Sure, there are plenty of specialist courses available for people who have a job role in mind - and vocational education and training is the obvious choice if you have your heart set on a specific career. But VET doesn't limit you to a single job role. Some of the life skills you will learn when you follow a vocational path include those associated with personal development, entrepreneurship, and active citizenship – skills you will be able to use in all areas of life, and take with you to any number of other job roles.
Myth: VET leads to lower paid jobs
Reality: VET subjects lead to some of the most lucrative roles
Today’s vocational courses are no longer limited to traditional subjects like construction or hairdressing (although many people do study these subjects and go on to find very well paid work!) These days, the options are limitless. Most of the world’s most highly paid roles are in engineering, medicine and IT – and these are all sectors that you can enter through the vocational route. What’s more, you are likely to find work a lot more quickly than your peers! In February 2018, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), UK, found that graduates who had chosen “highly vocational” or “fairly vocational” courses had a better chance of finding a well-paid job, using the skills they had learnt on the course, within six months of graduation.
European Vocational Skills Week is a great way to see what VET is in practice, and what opportunities it offers. The whole Week will be web-streamed, so why not find out more by joining us from 5–9 November in Vienna!
- Publication date
- 22 October 2018
- Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion