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Vocational education (or Vocational Education and Training (VET), also called Career and Technical Education (CTE)) prepares learners for careers that are based in manual or practical activities, traditionally non-academic and totally related to a specific trade, occupation or vocation, hence the term, in which the learner participates. It is sometimes referred to as technical education, as the learner directly develops expertise in a particular group of techniques or technology.
Generally, vocation and career are used interchangeably. Vocational education might be contrasted with education in a usually broader scientific field, which might concentrate on theory and abstract conceptual knowledge, characteristic of tertiary education. Vocational education can be at the secondary or post-secondary level and can interact with the apprenticeship system. Increasingly, vocational education can be recognised in terms of recognition of prior learning and partial academic credit towards tertiary education (e.g., at a university) as credit; however, it is rarely considered in its own form to fall under the traditional definition of a higher education.
Up until the end of the twentieth century, vocational education focused on specific trades such as for example, an automobile mechanic or welder, and was therefore associated with the activities of lower social classes. As a consequence, it attracted a level of stigma. Vocational education is related to the age-old apprenticeship system of learning.
However, as the labor market becomes more specialized and economies demand higher levels of skill, governments and businesses are increasingly investing in the future of vocational education through publicly funded training organizations and subsidized apprenticeship or traineeship initiatives for businesses. At the post-secondary level vocational education is typically provided by an institute of technology, or by a local community college.
Vocational education has diversified over the 20th century and now exists in industries such as retail, tourism, information technology, funeral services and cosmetics, as well as in the traditional crafts and cottage industries.
In Australia vocational education and training is mostly post-secondary and provided through the Vocational Education and Training (VET) system by Registered Training Organisations. This system encompasses both public and private providers in a national training framework consisting of the Australian Quality Training Framework, Australian Qualifications Framework and Industry Training Packages which define the assessment standards for the different vocational qualifications.
Since the states and territories are responsible for most public delivery and all regulation of providers, a central concept of the system is "national recognition" whereby the assessments and awards of any one registered training organisation must be recognised by all others and the decisions of any state or territory training authority must be recognised by the other states and territories. This allows national portability of qualifications and units of competency.
A crucial feature of the Training Package system (which accounts for about 60% of publicly-funded training and almost all apprenticeship training) is that the content of the vocational qualifications is theoretically defined by industry and not by government or training providers. A Training Package is "owned" by one of ten Industries Skills Councils which are responsible for developing and reviewing the qualifications.
The National Centre for Vocational Education Research or NCVER  is a not-for-profit company owned by the federal, state and territory ministers responsible for training. It is responsible for collecting, managing, analysing, evaluating and communicating research and statistics about vocational education and training (VET).
Commonwealth of Independent StatesEdit
The largest and the most unified system of vocational education was created in the Soviet Union with the Professional`no-tehnicheskoye uchilische and, Tehnikum. But it became less effective with the transition of the economies of post-Soviet countries to a market economy.
In Finland, the vocational education belongs to the secondary education. After the nine-year comprehensive school, almost all students choose either the lukio, which is an institution preparing students for tertiary education, or a vocational school. Both forms of secondary education last three years, and give a formal qualification to enter university or ammattikorkeakoulus, i.e. Finnish polytechnics. In certain fields (e.g. the police school, air traffic control person training), the vocational schools have the completed lukio as an entrance requirement, thus causing the students to complete the secondary education twice.
The education in vocational school is free, and the students from low-income families are eligible for a state student grant. The curriculum is primarily vocational, and the academic part of the curriculum is adapted to the needs of a given course. The vocational schools are mostly maintained by municipalities.
With a completed secondary education one can enter higher vocational schools (ammattikorkeakoulu, or AMK) or universities. Because the vocational school curriculum is work-oriented, its graduates often have difficulty in passing the entrance exams of the universities.
German language areasEdit
For example, in Germany a law (the Berufsausbildungsgesetz) was passed in 1969 which regulated and unified the vocational training system and codified the shared responsibility of the state, the unions, associations and chambers of trade and industry. The system is very popular in modern Germany: in 2001, two thirds of young people aged under 22 began an apprenticeship, and 78% of them completed it, meaning that approximately 51% of all young people under 22 have completed an apprenticeship. One in three companies offered apprenticeships in 2003; in 2004 the government signed a pledge with industrial unions that all companies except very small ones must take on apprentices.
The vocational education systems in the other German speaking countries are very similar to the German system and a vocational qualification from one country is generally also recognized in the other states within this area.
Additionally there is the Fachhochschule (FH) since the 1970s in West Germany and since the 1990s in Austria, former East Germany, Liechtenstein and in Switzerland. Historically, Fachhochschulen were meant as a way of academic qualification for people who went through an apprenticeship, especially in technical professions. This is called Zweiter Bildungsweg (rough literal translation: second educational path), i.e., an alternative to the classical academic career path from Gymnasium (school) to a university. However, nowadays Fachhochschule have become a fixture in German higher education and a considerably percentage of the FH studentes do not have an apprenticeship, but rather enter the FH straight after secondary school. Until recently, Fachhochschulen only offered Diplom (FH) degrees (e.g., a diploma in engineering of social work) in programs which stretched over 7 or 8 semesters, and typically include one semester or so of industrial internship. More recently, many Fachhochschulen switched to a system where they offer Bachelor's and Master's degrees.
New Zealand is served by 41 Industry Training Organsiations(ITO). The unique element is that ITOs purchase training as well as set standards and aggregate industry opinion about skills in the labour market. Industry Training, as organised by ITOs, has expanded from apprenticeships to a more true life long learning situation with, for example, over 10% of trainees aged 50 or over. Moreover much of the training is generic. This challenges the prevailing idea of vocational education and the standard layperson view that it focuses on apprenticeships.
The best source for information in New Zealand is through the Industry Training Federation.
Polytechnics, Private Training Establishments, Wananga and others also deliver vocational training, amongst other areas.
In the United States, the approach is varied from state to state. Most of the technical and vocational courses are offered by Community Colleges, though several states have their own institutes of technology which are on an equal accreditational footing with other state universities.
Historically, junior high schools and high schools have offered vocational courses such as home economics, wood and metal shop, typing, business courses, drafting and auto repair, though schools have put more emphasis on academics for all students because of standards based education reform. School to Work is a series of federal and state initiatives to link academics to work, sometimes including spending time during the day on a job site without pay.
Federal involvement is principally carried out through the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act. Accountability requirements tied to the receipt of federal funds under this Act help provide some overall leadership. The Office of Vocational and Adult Education within the US Department of Education also supervises activities funded by the Act.
The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) is the largest private association dedicated to the advancement of education that prepares youth and adults for careers. Its members include CTE teachers, administrators, and researchers.
Vocational training in India is provided on a full time as well as part time basis. Full time programs are generally offered through industrial training institutes. Part time programs are offered through state technical education boards or universities who also offer full-time courses. Vocational training has been successful in India only in industrial training institutes and that too in engineering trades. There are many private institutes in India which offer courses in vocational training and finishing, but most of them have not been recognized by the Government. India is a pioneer in vocational training in Film & Television, and Information Technology.AAFT
United Kingdom Edit
Vocational Training in the United Kingdom has had a new lease of life in the last decade with a shift in emphasis in schools, colleges and businesses towards it. Schools are now beginning to implement vocational programmes, the Government has introduced new funding under the "Train to Gain" contract and the Leitch Review of 2006 made it quite clear that businesses wanting to stay competitive in the global economy would need to improve staff skills through VET.
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- Asian Academy Of Film & Television
- Community college
- Cooperative education
- Constructivism (learning theory)
- Family and consumer science
- Finishing school
- Further education
- IEK: Vocational education schools in Greece.
- Institute of technology
- Technical and Further Education (Australia)
- Vocational school
- Vocational Training (TVET)Consultants
- Vocational university
- Widening participation (UK)
- Choosing a Career or Vocational School
- How to Decide Between a 4-Year College and a Trade School
- Teachers TV Vocational Education Programmes and Resources
Vocational School ExamplesEdit
- Automotive Vocational Schools, a website devoted to vocational schools in the automotive field.
- Jschool: Journalism Education & Training, an example of a vocational college in journalism education.
- Medical Vocational Schools, a website devoted to vocational schools in the medical field.
- Agricultural Vocational Schools, website for the TeachAManToFish network of agricultural vocational schools.
- Constructivism, Workplace Learning, and Vocational Education
- The Business of Vocational Education
- Employers' Expectations of Vocational Education
- Reducing the Dropout Rate through Career and Vocational Education
- Vocational Education's Image for the 21st Century
- Vocational Education Performance Standards
National and International organisations and agenciesEdit
- Australian Department of Education, Science and Training
- Australian NCVER listing of web sites, Australian and international, containing vocational education and training (VET) information
- European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (CEDEFOP)
- European Forum of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (EFVET)
- German Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB)
- UNESCO-UNEVOC International Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training
- UK Department for Education and Skills
- Learning and Skills Network (England)
- National Institute for Adult and Continuing Education (UK)
- Scottish Executive Education Department
- US Dept of Labor of Employment and Training Administration - Office of Apprenticeship Training, Employer and Labor Services (OATELS)
- US Dept of Education - Office of Vocational and Adult Education
- U.S. Job Training and Vocational Education Programs
- Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE)
- Vocational Education in the United States: Toward the Year 2000 US National Center for Education Statistics
- e-Learning in the Trades: Six case studies of trade skills trainers who are using blended delivery techniques
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