Survey respondents are generally familiar with vocational education. Most Europeans have heard about VET (86%). While they recognise its heterogeneity, linking it to different statements on when (initial versus continuous) and where it takes place (school versus work-based), VET is generally associated with an education that prepares you for a specific occupation and rarely connected to higher education, such as university.
Not perceiving VET as offering progression opportunities to higher education tends to reduce its attractiveness, and is a major argument for those who opted for general education; this conceptualisation is in line with the reason for choosing VET. Vocational education students tend to report that the likelihood of finding a job guided their choice of education at upper secondary level (46%), while general education students tend to report their choice as based on the possibility of continuing to higher education (45%). Breaking this general education/higher education duality might be a necessary condition to make VET more attractive.
The survey shows that many countries still encounter a negative public discourse on VET, reinforcing stereotypes and misconceptions; the potential of information and lifelong guidance is not fully exploited in these contexts. Looking at the survey results across countries, there is a strong correlation between the level of information people receive and their participation in VET programmes. Although we cannot assume direct causality, countries where more people are given information on VET have more vocational edu- cation participants. Less than half of those who opted for general education at upper secondary level say they were given information about vocational education, and one in four say that someone advised them against taking that option when they were deciding on their upper secondary education.
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at Cedefop opinion survey on vocational education and training in Europe