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Why Employers Should Love Vocational Education

admin December 17, 2015

There remains a paradox in the world labor market in many years. While millions of jobs couldn't be filled, youth unemployment is always high year to year. Unfortunately, a huge number of unemployed people have academic degrees. This is a conundrum resulted from the skills shortages of workforce all over the globe. Governments, policy makers, educators and employers are paying more attention to vocational education due to its undeniable benefits. By doing a lot of researches, they believe that vocational education is the best solution for this stubborn issue. How should business turn vocational education into a competitive strategy?

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Why should employers take vocational education into account?

The skills gap in all economies from developed to developing countries raises the need of changing attitudes towards vocational education. We often don't appreciate vocational graduates since we believe that they have lower qualifications and social status than college ones. Besides, students and their parents hesitate to register at vocational schools due to the worry of limited innovation, low income and social bias against vocational education. These misleading mindsets need changing immediately in technology-based economies.


Academic education is good, but it's not the only door for students. The mass participation in colleges and universities doesn't guarantee high qualified output for the economy. Conventional education requires 4-5 years to complete a bachelor program with most theorical knowledge. Conversely, students who choose vocational schools often take about 2 years to acquire both basic knowledge and practical skills for their jobs. Apart from tenure, vocational education and training also gain advantage from the connection between schools and businesses. Skilled-based schools ensure that their students can work well right after graduation without or with little training.


Vocational education is not limited to technical training as many people misunderstand. Vocational education directly develops expertise in techniques related to technology, skill and scientific technique to span all aspects of the trade. Broadly speaking, vocational education refers to vocational education and training (VET). VET consists of initial school-based education and training for post-curriculum students and further continuing education and training for adults who are already active in working life.

As an employer, do you remember how much money you pour into recruiting and training every year? Besides, the costs of wasted resources and low productivity are not a small amount as well. VET is the key solution for these problems in your business.

The world's needs and demands in vocational education


VET covers a wide range of careers and industries. The most popular fields are technology, transport, construction, manufacturing, health care, retail and hospitality.

The boom of university graduates in both developed and developing countries cannot solve either international issue of unemployment or the shortage of skills. China and India are now the world's biggest producers of graduates, but their unemployment rates always remain high, especially among the youth.


Developing and emerging economies have seen a shift of employment from agriculture to such higher income industries as construction, manufacturing, health care, etc. Workers can't earn high pay and benefit without vocational education. Moreover, the world economy in general and each country's economy in particular couldn't achieve sustainable development without qualified and skilled labor force.

The recent report by the City and Guilds Group indicates that even in the US, skills shortage is a burning issue. In Europe, Austria and Germany are two typical representatives of the countries having high level of engagement in vocational education and low rates of unemployment. According to the report, 80% of Germany’s workforce have had formal skills training. No doubt, Germany’s unemployment rate recorded in October 2015 was 4.5%, and the youth unemployment rate was 7.1%, the lowest rate among EU members.

How businesses can utilize benefits from vocational education?


It’s time for enterprises integrate more actively into competency-based education. To gain mutual benefits, the cooperation between business and VET stakeholders need to be fostered. The close connection between schools and the world of work will be the strong foundation for a healthy economy. Employers can get right candidates with skills they need, vocational students can access more paths of careers with shorter tenure of training, lower school fees and loan debts.


However, we need to take a look at our current situation. Many office jobs, particularly in large organizations, require bachelor degrees though vocational graduates can do the job even better. The blue-collar stigma in white-collar society exists in decades, thus it’s hard to be changed immediately. Employers need to understand clearly the differences between initial and continuing VET. Initial VET can help companies reduce costs of recruitment, on-boarding training and turnover. But the world of work is changing every day, which requires up-to-date knowledge and skills. Employers should offer incentives for current employees in voluntary on-the-job training to encourage continuing VET at workplace. Besides, business should create favorable conditions for apprenticeship and internship programs. If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys

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