Parents and educators are always faced with the challenge to keep students engaged in learning and to enable them to become lifelong learners. We can assist in fostering this learning by exposing students to as many different learning opportunities as possible, allowing them to challenge themselves to explore the multitude of pathways that are available.
Vocational Education Training (VET) allows students to be defined not by their previous learning environment or results (which is not always a full reflection of their capabilities) but provides a pathway that can be exciting and rewarding for the student.
VET is skills-based learning with various entry and exit points depending on the level of skill at the entry point and the career aspiration at the exit point. Pleasingly, every exit point still enables the student to be job-ready and employable.
A significant advantage of VET is that the skills are taught in such a way that the content is relevant to specific career pathways and work settings. This training is also done in collaboration with the relevant industry sector which benefits both the employer, who obtain job-ready employees with the right skill sets, and the learner, who is empowered by having the relevant and practical skills that employers find desirable.
VET provides a variety of other advantages and benefits which include:
- Providing an entry point for a pathway to a long-term career. VET allows students to immediately gain skills and start building on them – it also provides multiple ways to start, exit and re-enter the career pathway as the career is progressed through the phases of life.
- Equipping students with the skills and knowledge required to perform effectively in the workplace, as they learn work-ready skills.
- Having a marketable skill, which means having the freedom to live almost anywhere – allowing an individual the ability to move to where the jobs are or where they want to reside.
- Working with people who are knowledgeable in the industry, gaining not only knowledge of the industry and the skills they require, but more importantly, a network of co-workers and colleagues that will be invaluable as their career progresses.
- Cultivating self-belief, inspiring entrepreneurship, and even a love of learning as the process is not just defined by one style of learning.
In order to prepare students for VET, students should be encouraged to develop employability skills by being involved in and participating in activities such as Sports, Arts, community groups, part-time work, work experience, hobbies and volunteering.
Such activities will help develop skills that will enable them to succeed in VET or any career they would like to pursue, which include:
- Love of learning and persistence – the desire and determination to master their chosen skills. There will be times when work does become more challenging and a resolve to continue is required.
- Teamwork – the ability to collaborate with team members, managers and customers to work collaboratively towards an outcome is essential in the modern workforce.
- Communication – to function effectively in society and at work. Building on communication skills will enable students to gather information about what opportunities are available and to articulate how their skills match those opportunities.
- Self- management – the ability to be disciplined enough to self-manage and improve themselves, to ensure that they are in the best place to make use of the opportunities that are available.
- Networking – interacting with people building relationships that will provide further opportunities.
- Technology – keeping up to date with the ever-changing landscape and being able to incorporate new technology in their work practices will be essential.
A contemporary example of a successful trades-person is Dale Alcock, Founder of Dale Alcock Home Builders. Mr Alcock started his career as an apprentice bricklayer, and he is now a highly successful businessman that employs many tradespeople and other employees. The tactical knowledge gained as a bricklayer also led him on a pathway to becoming a registered builder, which then led him to become the Managing Director of the ABN group.
Trades are noble professions and the right skills are highly sought after in the industry. Following a VET pathway can set an individual up for a successful future.
— Written by Belinda van der Linde, Senior School VET Coordinator