Vocational Education & Training (VET), as its own name says, is addressed to those who want to keep educating themselves but in a field where they really feel like learning, vocationally. In the European Union this education is offered in multiple paths, so that everyone can find some studies in relation to their passion. When finishing secondary school, students can continue studying either for having a university degree or having some VET studies. All over the EU, an average of 50.4% decides to choose VET, and around a 0.68% of the EU’s PIB is invested in it through public funds (data from 2011). So, the scope of VET in the EU could be considered quite wide.
This data shows that more than the 50% of the students all over the EU would rather “work with their hands” (blue-collar). Here comes the issue; in general terms, society still considers there is more value in white-collars than in blue-collars. Moreover, blue-collar work is considered as a lower status. Mark Phillips, a teacher and Educational Journalist wrote about it in 2012 for the George Lucas Educational Foundation (we encourage you to read it). In his article, he wrote about the destroying effect that this way of thinking has on kids and on society; Kids would be coerced to choose university studies rather than VET, which would set aside the kid’s natural gifts. Meanwhile, nowadays in society technical skills are crucial, the ones which usually are developed in VETs. If we do not have those professionals, the future of the civilization and economy we are working for may be in danger.
There are varied types of intelligence and all deserve the respect of the people. Furthermore, if we want a healthy economy and society, we need to learn how to take advantage of all these intelligences without underestimating any of them because of their learning path. Each person has its own natural gifts and preferences, and as a society, we need to accept them and ensure that we are working on exploiting that potential.