OECD Reviews of Vocational Education and Training

English
ISSN: 
2077-7736 (online)
ISSN: 
2077-7728 (print)
DOI: 
10.1787/20777736
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Higher level vocational education and training (VET) programmes are facing rapid change and intensifying challenges. What type of training is needed to meet the needs of changing economies? How should the programmes be funded? How should they be linked to academic and university programmes? How can employers and unions be engaged? The country reports in this series look at these and other questions. They form part of Skills beyond School, the OECD policy review of postsecondary vocational education and training.

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Skills beyond School

Skills beyond School

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English
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    http://oecd.metastore.ingenta.com/content/9114051e.pdf
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Author(s):
OECD
13 Nov 2014
Pages:
116
ISBN:
9789264214682 (PDF) ;9789264214675(print)
DOI: 
10.1787/9789264214682-en

Hide / Show Abstract

Higher level vocational education and training (VET) programmes are facing rapid change and intensifying challenges. What type of training is needed to meet the needs of changing economies? How should the programmes be funded? How should they be linked to academic and university programmes? How can employers and unions be engaged? This report synthesises the findings of the series of  country reports done on skills beyond school.

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  • Foreword

    Skills are critical to economic growth and social well-being. Although initial vocational training at upper secondary level provides useful skills, in many jobs where demand is fast-growing – ranging from healthcare technicians to junior managers – such basic vocational training is no longer enough. Indeed, higher level professional, managerial and technical skills are increasingly required. In the United States, it is estimated that one third of all vacancies by 2018 will call for some post-secondary qualification, but not necessarily the completion of a four-year degree.

  • Summary and policy recommendations

    School and university, and the well-trod path between them, play a dominant role in thinking about education policy. But outside these two institutions there exists a less well understood world of colleges, diplomas, certificates and professional examinations – the world of post-secondary vocational education and training. Many professional and technical jobs require no more than one or two years of career preparation beyond upper secondary level, and in some countries as much as one-quarter of the adult workforce have this type of qualification (see ). Nearly two-thirds of overall employment growth in the European Union (EU25) is forecast to be in the "technicians and associate professionals" category – the category most closely linked to this sector (CEDEFOP, 2012). A recent US projection is that nearly one-third of job vacancies by 2018 will require some post-secondary qualification but less than a four-year degree (Carnevale, Smith and Strohl, 2010). The aim of this OECD study (see ) is to cast light on this world, as it is large, dynamic, and of key importance to country skill systems.

  • The hidden world of professional education and training

    School and university, and the well-trod path between them, play a dominant role in thinking about education policy. But separately from these two institutions there exists a less well understood world of colleges, diplomas, certificates and professional examinations – the world of post-secondary vocational education and training – which in this report will also be called "professional education and training". Many professional, technical and managerial jobs require no more than one or two years of career preparation beyond upper secondary level, and some countries have as much as one-quarter of the adult workforce with this type of short-cycle qualification. This chapter describes the role of programmes of this type and underlines their importance in country skills systems.

  • Enhancing the profile of professional education and training

    This chapter looks at ways of strengthening the profile of what we awkwardly call "post-secondary vocational education and training". It proposes first, that the sector should be described as "professional education and training"; second, that the scale of the sector needs to be adequate in each country and this depends on an effective institutional and funding structure; and third, that better data are needed to measure and evaluate the sector and compare it internationally.

  • Three key elements of high-quality post-secondary programmes

    An effective professional training sector needs to offer high-quality programmes that produce highly-skilled workers. This chapter looks at three key features of high-quality programmes: first, systematic work-based learning integrated into programmes; second, effective teacher professional development that balances the need for teaching skills with up-to-date practical experience in industry; and third, attention to numeracy and literacy skills.

  • Transparency in learning outcomes

    Having the right skills is not sufficient; these skills need to be recognised and used effectively by employers and learning institutions. Qualifications serve this function by certifying acquired knowledge and skills. This chapter explores how qualifications work, why they sometimes fail, and what can be done to make them work better. It first discusses how to construct strong qualification systems. It then examines how competence-based qualifications can be fully exploited, and how effective skills assessments may underpin the credibility of qualifications.

  • Clearer pathways for learners

    Professional education and training takes place at career crossroads, leading on into different careers and further learning opportunities. Crossroads need good pathways and clear signposts. This chapter looks at the different routes of entry to and exit from post-secondary professional programmes and how they are signposted. It argues that higher level vocational qualifications are needed for graduates of the initial vocational system, providing a career structure to support and enhance the status of the initial vocational route. More flexible modes of study are needed for adult learners. Systematic efforts are needed to support the articulation of professional training with academic higher education. The whole structure needs to be supported by high-quality career guidance and information.

  • Key characteristics of effective vocational systems

    Many of the findings of this report resonate with those from the earlier OECD study of vocational education and training at upper secondary level, Learning for Jobs (OECD, 2010). With that in mind, this chapter aims to integrate the findings of both studies and propose a set of key desirable characteristics of effective vocational systems.

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