ADVICE

The benefits of a TVET education in a pandemic

SOURCE: MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP
The demand for technical specialists is often most concentrated in the sectors that are vital to economic advancement.


By U2B Staff 

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TVET education has become a vital component of many educational systems due to its importance in helping students to develop the technical and practical skills needed to improve their livelihood and to be competitive in today’s ever-changing world.

Job creation is acknowledged as a global need by international entities like UNESCO, which estimates that at least 475 million new jobs need to be created over the next decade to absorb the 73 million currently unemployed youth population, as well as the influx of 40 million new entrants to the labour market per year. Technical and vocational education and training (TVET) programmes provide a solution, assuming they are directly linked to market needs.

TVET provision is increasingly focused on apprentice-style training to prepare students for the work they will eventually do. This has been championed as the way forward by numerous international organisations. 

A TVET education serves many purposes. For some, they offer opportunities to further their careers and earning power. For others, they offer careers in hands-on fields that don’t require traditional four-year academic training. They also offer a way for aspiring college-goers to enrich their high school experience, by preparing for college and earning college credits while doing so. 

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The purpose of vocational education and training is to promote knowledge, skills and attitudes, professional skills and social skills required for work, participation in society, and lifelong learning.

Here are some of the key benefits of pursuing a TVET education:

Cost-efficiency

TVET institutions are known to be less expensive than attending a college or university. A four-year college degree can come up to US$127,000 on average, while trade school programmes cost around US$33,000. Since vocational training programmes can be completed in two years or less, the total cost is drastically reduced. 

Specialised programmes

Trade school programmes are unique. Most four-year institutions do not have career-based programmes that focus solely on learning practical skills. Programme options include auto-repair, carpentry, cosmetology, welding, catering and culinary arts, paralegal studies, and more. 

Practical experience

One of the advantages of vocational training is that instructors are often industry professionals. The opportunity to learn from an experienced professional in the field gives deep insight on what it takes to be successful on the job. Most programmes include externships that allow learners to work in the industry for credit. This practical experience often leads to an apprenticeship or even a job offer. 

Flexible schedules

TVET programmes are typically designed to help nontraditional students who wish to go to school while juggling other responsibilities. Options such as evening, weekend and online learning make this perk beneficial for those who are trying to develop new career expertise while working full-time.

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Hands-on environment 

Classes are usually smaller with teachers providing hands-on instructions thoroughly in a smaller environment. Practical skills often come with individualised attention from professors, and a better opportunity to learn from and get to know your peers. 

Join the workforce quickly

Another advantage to a TVET education is that students can complete their training in a short period of time. Programme durations vary, but most can be completed in two years or less. For example, emergency medical technicians are ready to begin their careers after just one semester. 

Well-paying career opportunities

Most TVET schools publish available job placements to inform prospective students about the likelihood of employment upon graduation. Vocational job placement for graduates is generally high, however, it varies by job type. Some specialisations even have the potential to crack the six-figure mark with the right amount of experience.

A sample list of trade jobs and their median annual salaries:

  • Dental hygienists: US$76,200
  • Welder: US$39,400
  • Carpenter: US$43,600
  • Licensed Practical Nurse: US$44,000
  • Electrician: US$52,700