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The formation of vocational education and training

Overtime, various terms have been used to describe elements of the field of VET. These may include apprenticeship training, vocational education, industrial arts, technical education, Technical/Vocational Education, Occupational Education (OE), Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), and Career and Technical Education (CTE). Many of these terms are commonly used in specific geographical areas. For example, in Europe, the term VET is in common usage, and it relates to the rise in vocational education and training with technological changes produced by the industrial revolution in Europe. Due to mechanisation of processes, jobs became complex and more specialised, which resulted in a demand for skilled workers. This, in turn, promoted the growth of education that could provide training and skills for technically proficient labour. At this stage, the traditional modes of training became inefficient, and skill’s requirements of old jobs were upgraded. The main aims of the expansion of vocational education during this century were to meet the demands for a technically proficient labour force, integrating the young employees from lower socio-economic background and training a loyal and disciplined workforce.

After the mid-twentieth century, independent nations started expanding post-primary education and many vocational training programmes were introduced at the secondary level. During the post-World War II period, many international agencies, such as International Labour Organization (ILO) and UNESCO, played major roles in the development of vocational education. It has been opined that at least three ideal models of the vocational system emerged. One is a market-led system in which labour market characterised by substantial mobility provides much of the vocational training. Another is a school model where most of the VET takes place in schools. And the third is a dual model with the presence of an apprenticeship system. Yet, in recent years, creation of a skilled labour force has been a challenge in many countries, where there is a growing demand for a skilled labour force which has remained unfulfilled. To meet the requirement for a skilled labour force, more emphasis has been given to VET programmes. This issue has been at the centre of the policy agenda of many national governments, which forced them to initiate various steps towards building a sound VET system. So, considerations of what constitutes best practice and attempts to standardise and regulate uniformly need to be addressed carefully. The elaboration of VET needs to be sensitive to how the diverse purposes for and range of educational provisions are best understood on a national not global basis. However, beyond this, there is also a need to understand how VET meets the needs of its students.

Authors of the Report

The project Competences for the Future – Matching the Needs of the Labour Market benefits from a € 106 000 grant from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA Grants. The aim of the project is to update the education offer through the exchange of opinions and good practices between organizations with experience in the field of vocational education of youth and adults.