You’ve probably heard of the term TVET before – but what could it possibly mean?
What Is TVET?
TVET is an acronym for Technical and Vocational Education and Training.
According to Unesco, a hallmark feature of TVET is that it involves “in addition to general education, the study of technologies and related sciences as well as the acquisition of practical skills, attitudes, understanding, and knowledge relating to occupations in various sectors of economics and social life”.
Other terms synonymous with TVET may be professional training and technical education.
With a focus on industry practises, TVET may occur in educational (schools) or professional (workplace) settings.
It combines formal (theoretical learning that often takes place in the classroom) and informal (this refers to self-directed education that is practical, such as internships and on-the-job experiences) learning to equip students with the knowledge and skills needed in the workplace, with a focus on the technical aspects.
When it comes to defining TVET in the UK, there are notably six key features to take into account:
- Employer-centric – whereby most training providers and institutions have a partnership and cooperate to ensure training outcomes are employability based.
- Flexible – Within a regulated framework, training providers are relatively autonomous in how they deliver training and students can be given the flexibility to work and study simultaneously.
- Quality – TVET providers are to commit to quality education. The public generally has access to high-quality inspection reports which encourage and reward high performance among TVET institutions.
- International – TVET within the global access where the international community can join courses as students or trainers.
- Accessibility – Where frameworks for complete student support, community involvement, staff development, and technology use are enforced.
- Economic Development – TVET institutions collaborate with local agencies and employers to ensure economic growth is facilitated
One of the primary goals of TVET is to ensure that learning needs are satisfied by providing equitable access to appropriate learning and life skills programmes.
Although TVET has been in place for more than four decades in the UK, it remains a relevant tool to aid in employability and career preparation for many.
In fact, with the introduction of SDGs (sustainable development goals – a set of aspirations from the United Nations that act as a blueprint to guide policymakers to create sustainable regulations for all) which also included themes on vocational education, the TVET industry has been further used as a tool by governments and key players alike to achieve these goals (1). Other goals relevant to TVET include encouraging social mobility, local economic growth and the development of individual entrepreneurial skills.
Who Delivers TVET in The UK?
Discussing the agents responsible for TVET delivery in the UK can be a lengthy discourse.
In summary, the agents can be divided into five categories:
- Further Education (FE) Colleges – At the core of the TVET system in the UK offering training in many different fields.
- Other College providers – Such as form sixth colleges, land-based colleges that provide agricultural education and Independent Specialist Colleges (ISC) that are focused on special needs (mentally or physically disabled people who require assistance with their education) TVET
- Independent Training Providers (ITPs) – Involves volunteer work, as well as employment with for-profit or nonprofit organisations.
- Schools – Some schools in the UK deliver vocational courses, especially for students between the ages of 14 and 18.
- Universities – Which offer programmes for technical skills at a higher level, such as degree apprenticeships.
▶️ Watch this short video presentation on TVET
Source : UNESCO
The Stigma With TVET
Some people were only acquainted with the term TVET for one negative reason – it was frequently misunderstood as a secondary option only available to students with subpar academic records.
In reality, the stigma is no longer relevant because employers are increasingly paying attention to TVET graduates.
For instance, cooperation and understanding between the business and educational sectors in the UK have interestingly increased in recent years which has also aided in quality delivery.
Colleges Scotland is one of the many examples of TVET providers in the UK that continuously develops its curriculum in conjunction with employers from the public and private sectors.
The declining rate of professionals from the TVET industry may have also alleviated the stigma related to the vocational learning system, as employers and the educational sectors collaborate to better create plans to encourage more individuals to join the TVET workforce.
For instance, in addressing the decreasing number of welders in the country, the London Welding Academy – a specialised welding institution – created programs tailored to nurture more welders in the field.
Let’s Talk Money
Typically, TVET positions pay little, especially at the initial stages of their career path.
Most people who work as technicians, carpenters, bricklayers, and electricians start out with a modest stipend or allowance and these are not sizable stipends.
Examples of other such professions include chef, underwater welder, piping expert (in the oil and gas industry), and dressmaker.
As these people have skills that most of us don’t, they can, however, demand a respectable wage once they have some work experience.
For example, Glassdoor recorded that a person who runs their own business, such as a dressmaker, a restaurant owner, an auto shop owner, etc., can make five figures if they have a recognised certification, experience, and good interpersonal and communication skills.
Where To Get TVET In The UK
From piping to beauty, a considerable amount of institutions currently offer TVET courses for people of different ages.
To name a few examples, interested candidates can explore vocational courses at ISEC, BASH Academy, University of West London and City of Westminster College.
The TVET industry might not be anything new, but it sure is gaining positive momentum in recent years.
As the value of TVET continues to be widely acknowledged throughout the United Kingdom and its neighbouring countries, governments and educational institutions are constantly collaborating to enhance its quality and opportunities.
Now that you know what TVET stands for and some of its prospects, would you consider advising your friends or colleagues to take up this form of education?
1. Allais, S., & Wedekind, V. (2020). Targets, TVET and transformation. In Grading Goal Four (pp. 322-338). Brill.