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Lucubrate Magazine, January 9th, 2023
The balance between general subject knowledge, occupation-specific skills and transversal competencies determine the relevance and overall quality of TVET in the coming decades.
Vocational education and training (TVET) is a system that helps students acquire specific skills and can lead to a career in a particular profession. Employers encourage students to enter into vocational education and training programs over general education programs because they are more productive to the individual and the nation.
TVET programs give the necessary skills required by employers
Most employers believe prospective workers should have a wide range of knowledge and skills for their future careers. Students must have an understanding of the theory behind their occupation. They should also have good computer skills, physical fitness, and driving abilities. Additionally, they should have social skills and the ability to work within a team environment. Employers also encourage students to complete general education courses to help them with essay writing, time management, social abilities, and self-expression skills.
TVET programs provide students with the necessary skills required by employers. The students achieved the skills by learning objectives linked to the needs of employers in the industry concerned with that program. Educators are essential in setting academic standards for students’ performance in their vocational courses. Carefully defined learning objectives and academic standards ensure that students will learn and be competent when working towards achieving their desired careers.
The balance between general subject knowledge, occupation-specific skills and transversal competencies
A briefing note from Cedefop discusses how the content and provision of vocational education and training (TVET) are responding to changing labour market and societal needs . The discussion concludes by pointing to the future. The following paragraphs are ideas from the Briefing Note.
Learning outcomes form the basis for defining and continuously updating the content and profile of TVET programmes and qualifications. This update requires a clear understanding of the different types of knowledge, skills and competencies demanded by individuals, employers and society. These types, broadly referred to as general, vocational and transversal, need careful balancing and should be promoted and acquired in different ways and contexts.
It is essential to rethink the relationship between the content and delivery of VET: combining and integrating general subjects with occupation-specific and transversal skills and competencies will require new pedagogy and curriculum design approaches.
IVET and CVET will play different roles in building and promoting general, vocational and transversal skills and competencies. IVET may need to strengthen its focus on general knowledge, basic vocational skills and some transversal competencies. CVET update and renew specific occupational skills. Initial training can only include some transversal skills and competencies; we develop them over the years at work and in life.
We can see that the lines between IVET and CVET are blurred. In the future, possible overlaps between the two and conflicting priorities between young people’s need for labour market entry and social inclusion and adults’ re- and upskilling needs will require attention.
While IVET will continue to cater to delivering TVET fundamentals to the young, it will need to take a more active stance towards adults and their specific needs and constraints.
The briefing note on the changing TVET landscape points to promoting learner-centred strategies. Learners taking up TVET will bring along their increasingly different expectations and capacities. It is crucial to design national curricula in close reference to these, allowing IVET and CVET providers to adapt their training offer to the different learners at the right level and in the correct format. Supported by well-integrated guidance and validation arrangements, well-targeted training provisions will help ensure the relevance and quality of TVET.
The report shows that the overall conception of TVET in Europe is gradually changing. While this impacts the delivery of TVET, its institutions and structures, it also increasingly affects its content. To be prepared for the future, TVET needs to re-balance general subject knowledge, occupation-specific skills and transversal competencies. This balance determines the relevance and overall quality of TVET in the coming decades.
 LOOKING BACK TO LOOK AHEAD: WHAT IS THE FUTURE FOR VET IN EUROPE? Briefing Note, Cedefop, December 2022
Lucubrate Magazine January 2023
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