Across the world, the debate about the importance of vocational education has been going on for decades. While some systems of education value vocational education, others disregard it as irrelevant to the dynamic needs of education and job markets. Opponents of vocational education argue that vocational education is irrelevant to high school students because it does not prepare them well for the competitive job markets.
Moreover, the opponents of vocational education point out that vocational education is not only expensive but also a waste of invaluable time of students. On the other hand, the proponents of vocational education assert vocational education is an essential part of the education system because it equips students with appropriate knowledge and skills so that they can provide essential human resources that are lacking or insufficient in labor markets.
In this view, a significant number of students graduate from high schools, but they lack the appropriate knowledge and skills for them to enter the job markets (Holzer 2). Employers in the labor markets are experiencing a shortage of technical skills because high school students directly go into colleges and universities without acquiring basic technical skills. Therefore, as a contribution to the ongoing debate, this essay argues that equipping students with vocational education improves their suitability for the job market.
Since high school students have no specific careers, vocational education gives them a platform where they can build their careers based on the technical skills that they acquire and thus making them suitable for the job market. Although opponents of vocational education argue that vocational education is irrelevant in career development, it has the capacity to build the careers of numerous students, who graduate from high schools.
Career building is a complex phenomenon among students because they have diverse ambitions. The proponents of vocational education hold that high school graduates require hands-on experiences so that they can shape their careers basing on them. According to Tripney and Hombrados, high school students are unable to make informed choices of their careers because they do have practical skills and knowledge of various forms of professions (6).
In this view, students, who go through vocational education, attain new perspectives of their careers; and hence, they build a solid foundation of their careers. Hence, vocational training forms the basis of career development among high school graduates, which is critical in their entry to competitive job markets.
Vocational education is important because it fills the career development gap exists in the career path of students, who are in colleges because they do not have crucial knowledge, skills, and experience of apprenticeship. Holzer argues that employers have been complaining about the lack of appropriate human resources (4). A significant number of people terminate their studies at the high school level, while others proceed to colleges and universities, and thus create a career gap due to lack of vocational education.
As employers look for people with more than high school education, but with less than college and university education, they do not get enough number. Moreover, employers are complaining that college and university graduates do not have essential technical skills.
Agrawal recommends that high school students, who proceed to colleges and universities, should undergo vocational training because it acts as a bridge that links high school and colleges or universities (21). Although critics of vocational education view it as an unnecessary step in career development, technical skills remain to be key human resources that employers seek.
Acquisition of technical knowledge and skills motivates students to perform complex tasks, which they can only perform if they undergo vocational education. Usually, high school education equips students with knowledge and skills, which prepare them to perform non-technical tasks. The opponents of vocational education assert that non-technical knowledge and skills are important than technical knowledge and skills because high school students are too young to acquire them (Jha 3).
However, the proponents of vocational education perceive that vocational education motivates students to acquire technical knowledge and skills with a view of providing solutions to human problems that are common in society. Since technical careers rank low in the job markets, students dislike and disregard them (Holzer 12). Nevertheless, vocational education changes the perceptions of students and thus motivates them to acquire technical knowledge and skills.
In essence, vocational education motivates students to perform technical tasks and therefore makes them appropriate employees with technical knowledge and skills. Hence, the acquisition of technical knowledge and skills motivates high school students to perform technical tasks, which are essential in the job markets.
Vocational education motivates students, who end their learning at the high school level and lose hope about the development of their careers, to acquire technical knowledge and skills, and consequently, provide human resources that technical careers require. Students from colleges and universities flood the employment market and increasing unemployment rates among youths.
Increased rates of unemployment compel students to pursue higher levels of education with the objective of increasing their competitiveness in the job markets. Since high school students get skills that increase their level of preparedness to the challenges in the workplace and various adaptation strategies, they become flexible and ready to tackle technical tasks.
Although critics discredit the essence of motivation, proponents state that knowledge and skills that students acquire from vocational education motivate them to pursue their studies (Agrawal 22). Motivation emanates from the encouragement that students develop after meeting the desired career objectives. Fundamentally, motivation creates a self-drive among students and increases the zeal of working in technical fields, which make students be ready and suitable for job markets.
Enhancement of Creativity and Innovation
Vocational education prepares students and makes them suitable for the job market by improving their levels of creativity and innovation. Critics of vocational education argue that training of students on aspects of the job market in high school is irrelevant because the students are too young to acquire technical skills. However, effective vocational education empowers the students at their tender ages and makes them creative and innovative.
Vocational education imparts the students with the required knowledge and skills, which prepares them to work in technical fields. Holzer argues that what is lacking in diverse education systems is the creativity and innovation among students (7). Proponents of vocational education argue that students in colleges and universities lack creativity because they by-pass vocational education.
According to Scherer, the literacy of the 21st century entails the acquisition of technical knowledge and skills due to the advent of information technology (19). Since technical skills and knowledge forms part of literacy in the 21st century, their acquisition promotes creativity and innovation among high school students, and thus enables students to understand the dynamics of the job market.
Since vocational education improves creativity and innovation among students, it enhances the discovery and invention of products, devices, and equipment, which essential in industrial development. Technical skills and knowledge that students acquire through vocational education trigger discoveries and innovations.
Although critics argue that students would take the training for granted due to their tender ages, proponents explain that imparting technical skills and knowledge on the students from their tender ages make them creative and innovative (Scherer 23). Industrial development requires advanced discoveries and innovation, which are dependent on the creative and innovative minds of the students.
Fundamentally, vocational training facilitates industrial development by supporting the creative and innovative minds of the students. Holzer states that through vocational education, high school graduates are able to provide their input in the process of making discoveries and innovations (16). Thus, vocational education nurtures the creative and innovative minds of young people and prepares them for job opportunities in the industrial sector.
Competitiveness in Labor Markets
The skills and knowledge that students acquire in vocational education equip them effectively and thus make them competent and competitive in the labor markets. Although opponents of vocational education argue that students in college and university levels are suitable to undergo vocational education, the competitiveness of labor markets does not allow people with certain educational level to monopolize the job opportunities.
Hence, it is important to equip high school students with technical skills and knowledge so that they can compete effectively with other people in the job market, irrespective of their educational levels. According to Agrawal, vocational education empowers high school students to develop their technical careers, which are in high demand in the labor markets (18).
Modern employers are seeking people with technical skills because they are indispensable in various organizations. Consequently, students, who have undergone vocational education are more competitive than the students, who have not undergone vocational education.
Increased creativity and innovation, which high school students acquire, enhance their competitiveness in labor markets. The technical skills and knowledge are central to industrial development. The employees that industries need should have technical skills and must be in tandem with technological innovations and inventions.
Although critics explain that vocational training is not practical, especially among students eyeing white-collar jobs, opponents discuss that vocational training increases the intellectual capacity and widens the perspective of an individual on professional development. Vocational education is very important as it empowers the students and makes them ready and suitable for jobs that need a practical application in industrial setups (Tripney and Hombrados 8).
Therefore, vocational education helps high school students to keep abreast with technological inventions and discoveries and contribute to industrial development. Therefore, vocational education equips students and makes them competitive in industrial setups, which require technical skills and knowledge.
Improved Performance, High Productivity, and Job Placement
Vocational education improves the performance of employees in their workplaces. Employers usually grapple with the challenge of underperformance and unproductive employees. When employees enter the job market with the relevant skills and expertise acquired from vocational education, they perform exemplary. Opponents of vocational education argue that improved productivity has its basis on the individual personality and cognitive behavior, but not on vocational education.
However, proponents argue that since vocational education help individuals to become creative and adaptive to diverse technical tasks, they enter the job market when they are suitable and ready to work well. Therefore, the individuals easily adapt and learn the requirements of the organization in terms of performance and provision of quality services.
Jha argues that skills and knowledge acquired from vocational training enhance the performance of employees because they have crucial expertise (4). Thus, high performance among employees, who have gone through vocational education, confirms the essence of vocational education among high school students.
Given that vocational education equips students with essential skills and knowledge in the technical fields, it prepares them for the job markets that focus on the productiveness of employees rather than qualification. Employees face challenges of recruiting employees, who are very productive and ready to meet the demanding obligations in organizations. Although the opponents explain that vocational education is not an effective way of enhancing productivity in the workplace, it instills the students with the skills and expertise required for career development, and so, their productivity increases soon after their employment in various organizations.
Increased productivity that takes place after the individuals enter the job markets is due to the skills and expertise that they acquire from vocational education. According to Tripney and Hombrados, vocational educational helps increase the productivity of individuals in workplaces (12).
Therefore, when students enter the labor market, they exhibit a high level of productivity because they do not require extensive training to adapt to the workplace environment. The outcome of reduced challenges experienced by the new employees is minimal because students integrate themselves into the duties of the organizational system and culture.
Vocational education enables students to secure job opportunities in various aspects of their expertise due to their empirical experience. Following economic recessions, which have occurred intermittently, unemployment rates have increased exponentially. In this view, creative and innovative minds that students exhibit in terms of technical skills and knowledge enable them to maneuver through turbulent labor markets and secure meaningful employment.
Critics of vocational education assert that vocational education is only essential after students have finished colleges and universities. Such an argument is not rational because it does not consider that a considerable number of students are high school graduates, who do not have the capacity to proceed with their studies.
Moreover, the argument fails to recognize the fact that employers require human resources with basic technical skills. Holzer asserts that enhanced acquisition and retention of jobs among employees, who have technical expertise highlights the significance of vocational education (14). Thus, employers find it easy to absorb students on vocational training because they have empirical knowledge and skills.
Diverse education systems around the world recommend integration of vocational education into their educational curricula. However, due to divergence imperceptions, some educational experts criticize the relevance of vocational education. The ongoing debate regarding the importance of vocational education indicates that it is imperative in equipping high school students with appropriate knowledge and skills that labor market demand.
In the present labor markets, vocational education is imperative because it equip students with essential knowledge and skills so that they suit the demands of the labor markets. The arguments in this essay indicate that vocational education enables high school students to build their careers, motivates them to pursue their careers, promote creativity and innovation, improve performance and productivity, and enhance competitiveness in labor markets.
From the arguments, it is evident that vocational education is very crucial if education system and labor markets need to harmonize the demands for labor with a view of improving underemployment and unemployment rates, which are quite high among the young people.
Agrawal, Tushar. “Vocational education and training programs (VET): An Asian perspective.” Asia-Pacific Journal of Cooperative Education 14.1 (2013): 15-26. Print.
Holzer, Harry. “Good workers for good jobs: Improving education and workforce system in the United States.” IZA Journal of Labor Policy 1.5 (2012): 1-19. Print.
Jha, Shankaranand. “Vocational education and communicative English.” Indian Streams Research Journal 4.2 (2014): 1-4. Print.
Scherer, Marge. “Transforming education with technology.” Educational Leadership 68.5 (2011): 16-22. Print.
Tripney, Janice, and Jorge Hombrados. “Technical and vocational education and training (TVET) for young people in low- and middle-income countries: A systematic review and meta-analysis.” Empirical Research in Vocational Education and Training 5.3 (2013): 1-14. Print.