Vocational education is having a moment in the United States.One place to look for inspiration may be Finland. The country’s vocational education and training (VET) is flexible and open not only to students after they complete nine years of school, but also to adults who are either looking for a career change or want to supplement their skills in a current occupation.
No dead ends
Finnish students complete nine years of comprehensive education, and it ends at the age of 16. Following the comprehensive education period, students have a choice: They can continue on an academic track (lukio) and prepare for university, or they can opt to begin vocational training (ammattikoulu). Either way, the process takes three years, and both sets of students can, following the completion of their respective tracks, apply for university or enter the workforce. Students can even do both at the same time if they want to.
That’s right: Even those who choose vocational education can continue onto a university setting and obtain additional degrees at a polytechnic institute, or a university of applied sciences. Coursework at such institutes emphasizes the practical nature of a field. They can also stay at the vocational school and earn additional certifications in their selected field.
“Today, there are no dead ends within the [Finnish] education system,” the European Center for the Development of Vocational Training (CEDEFOP) wrote in 2016 about the country’s VET efforts. “In the late 1990s, upper secondary VET was placed on an equal footing with general upper secondary education in that the vocational track also provided eligibility for higher education.” The video below explains this concept in more detail.
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at We could learn a lot about vocational training from Finland | MNN – Mother Nature Network