Over two days, 500 people from different European countries discussed the importance of Vocational Skills in Education and Training of young people today. Entrepreneurs, trainers and young people presented examples of good practice across Europe. But one question came up: Is vocational education a choice or a punishment?
Parents still continue to consider that their children should choose a university course. For them vocational training is always a second choice. The main reason for it is that many schools in Europe, when their pupils have poor results, do not show interest and they repeatedly bump, compulsively oblige them to attend a vocational training. This type of behavior is more visible in the South than in northern Europe. That is why often the vocational path is interpreted as a punishment.
We have to change our mentalities and instead of trying to impose a choice of life on our children, we must listen to them and together with them try to find out what their true vocation is and help them find their own way. 65% of young people, who are 12 years old today, will work in professions that have not yet been created.
This is what we were also told by the young people present at this meeting, many of them cases of success and personal fulfillment. Two of them, Megan Niven and Lewis Churchill received the European Alliance for Apprenticeships Award.
As the Minister of Research and Education of Norway said in his speech to the participants quoting Bob Dylan Nobel prize of literature 2016 “ The times they are a changing “ then:
“One of the things we have to do is focus on education and not just education at the top. You can´t manage change if you just have professors or just people with master’s degree. One of the basic ways to cope with change, to cope with increasing competition, to get innovation in a economy is also to have skilled labour. To have good Vocational Education and Training”
We all have a lot of work to do with European parents. The first major step will be our international conference on career guidance and vocational education on 24/25 November 2017 in Tallinn, Estonia.
report by Herminio Correa, Senior Advisor of EPA
Further information on the event on the website of the European Commission here