Addressed problem: VET image and attractiveness
Vocational Education and Training (VET), both secondary and post-secondary, suffers from poor reputation. Additionally, the discourse on tertiary education still favours university education over post-secondary VET, which adds to its unattractiveness.
VET needs to be an appealing, credible alternative option to general routes, if it is to attract and retain the right learners. Its image needs to be improved not just in the eyes of young people, but also their families and other key players such as teachers, careers advisers and employers.
High quality VET can be an attractive option for young people. It offers a clear route to the labour market which for some is appealing. Some young people like the practical aspect of the learning process. Others may be interested in the opportunity to earn as they learn, or to work towards a specific profession.
Yet young people, their families and friends may have negative perceptions of VET, in comparison to general education pathways. This can lead young people to follow general routes which turn out not to be the best choice for them. The content or teaching style of these general courses may be a factor leading the young person to drop out. Low achievement, resulting from choosing a programme that does not match the young person’s abilities, can also be a reason for dropping out.
Negative perceptions of VET can lead young people following VET routes to have low self-esteem. If their parents, teachers and peers underestimate VET as a learning route, they may feel devalued. This can lead to disengagement from education. Young people who have enrolled in VET after leaving a general pathway are particularly affected. They see their VET education as a failure and find it hard to engage in it positively.