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Vocational education needs an image overhaul

Posted on 9 August 2018
Vocational education needs an image overhaul
Despite youth unemployment sitting at a worrying 12.6 per cent, many industries are in desperate need for people with the rights skills.

According to Business Insider, the Apprentice Employment Network NSW and ACT reported that 1,500 apprenticeships were left unfilled last year.

Rafael Moyano from Adecco Australia says the problem is an education and training structure that equips young people with skills that are misaligned to the job market, resulting in poor advice and guidance.

"In Australia, students are told that university should be the primary goal, while apprenticeships and vocational routes get less emphasis. It is positive that a much higher percentage of people now attend university, but vocational routes have taken a hit."

He said Australia should look to replicate the success of Switzerland and Germany who have reduced youth unemployment by encouraging up to two-thirds of students to take up vocational courses.

"Australia must make apprenticeships and vocational training routes more appealing to young people. University marketing campaigns have presented degrees as the unrivalled option when it comes to expanding horizons, but this does not always hold up to the facts," he said.

Mr Moyano said to achieve an effective workforce there needs to be a balance between strong theoretical and practical skills.

"While Australia is doing the theoretical side well, it could do better by giving young people the hands-on experience they need," he said.

School vocational courses 'don't deliver'

WA's State School Teachers Union vice-president Samantha Schofield said cash-strapped high schools were being forced to offer vocational courses that cost little to deliver, instead of courses that interested or benefited students.

Under the current model students were completing competency-based certificates with a narrow focus on a set of skills instead of developing educational concepts, which she says "has the potential to jeopardise students' long-term success".

"It has also become abundantly clear that the VET in Schools program has not delivered its intended educational outcome that is, to raise the educational attainment of students by requiring students to complete Year 12 with either an ATAR or Certificate II result," she said.

 

From: The West Australian 19 Jul 2018 by Bethany Hiatt

Tags: VocEd pathways

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