VET in schools – it’s big and it works

A quarter of kids participate in senior-school VET programme and it helps some, many, find “full-time and satisfying work,”  new research from the Melbourne Institute reports

the good news: Julie Moschion, Cain Polidano and Marco Castillo used an initial sample of 40 000 students from PISA (2003, 06 and 09) and LSAY to find, that school VET provided participants with a “head-start in the labour market.”

They estimate that over the first seven years in the workforce it delivers extra earnings, “equivalent to receiving a one-off payment at the time of leaving school” of $26,408 for VET without workplace learning, $39,954 for VET with workplace learning, and $60,294 for apprenticeships/traineeships.

The lead does not last, after seven years, graduates, for example, catch-up. But while they warn longer-term benefits depend on post-school study choices, the report also suggests that school VET can help students make employer connections and find courses that “better match” the job market.

so, what’s the problem: No surprise here; “there are more than 1,000 nationally accredited VET courses, however, there is little information available on the employment outcomes that students can expect on graduation. Except for VET courses in the trades, there is a weak relationship between the occupation that VET courses are designed to prepare students for and the types of jobs attained.” Moschion, Polidano and Castillo warn.

how to improve it: they propose three actions; * understand barriers to participating in school-based VET, * look at how the ‘early start’ may play-out later in working life. “VET graduates may be more sensitive to changes in skill demands, which could be a disadvantage for them in their later career,” and * provide, “course-level information on expected outcomes at graduation for students to help better inform their choice of VET pathways.”



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