Addressed problem: Expectations of vocational programmes
When young people choose a vocational programme they expect learning to be more practical and concrete than in general programmes. They wish to work towards a specific profession and they want the skills they learn through their programme to be up-to-date and relevant to employers.
If these expectations are not met learners are more likely to drop out. Learners are demotivated if they realise that the content or equipment used in training are outdated, or if they do not see the practical application of what they learn in the vocational programme.
Students tend to be discouraged by vocational programmes that give a lot of emphasis to more academic subjects and knowledge. However, theoretical content cannot be excluded from vocational programmes because:
- Vocational Education and Training (VET) also aims at developing key competences and basic skills;
- In many professions manual work has been replaced by more abstract computer-based work, and some vocational programmes have complex curricula.
Understanding the practical application of theoretical courses helps keep students motivated. However, making the links between theory and practice can be a complex process and many learners need support to reflect on it.