Vocational education and training: the OECD experience

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Date(s) - 14/01/2015
2:45 pm - 5:00 pm

University of Brighton

José Luis Álvarez Galván from OECD Paris is running a seminar on ‘Vocational education and training: the OECD experience’

Vocational education (and training) is defined as education that offers participants the opportunity to acquire the practical skills, knowledge, and understanding necessary for employment in a particular occupation or trade or class of occupations or trades. Higher level vocational education and training (VET) programmes are facing rapid change and intensifying challenges. What type of training is needed to meet the needs of changing economies? How should the programmes be funded? How should they be linked to academic and university programmes? How can employers and unions be engaged? This report synthesises the findings of the series of  country reports done on skills beyond school.

José will be presenting the findings of  the “Skills Beyond Schools Synthesis Report”


The OECD study outlines a series of recommendations for countries to help them step up their efforts to deliver higher quality post-secondary vocational programmes. These include:

•           All professional education and training programmes should include some work-based learning as a condition of receiving government funding. This work-based learning should be systematic, quality-assured and credit-bearing.

•           Ensure that the workforce in professional training institutions benefit from a strong blend of pedagogical skills, industry experience and academic knowledge. Adapt qualification requirements to that end.

•           Assess students’ basic skills at the start of programmes and integrate basic skills development into professional programmes. This will ensure students leave programmes with essential literacy and numeracy skills that the 2013 OECD Survey of Adult Skills revealed that many adults lacked.

•           Engage industry stakeholders and develop and sustain vocational systems in close partnership with those stakeholders. This is key as work-based learning is too often weak and unsystematic, and employers and trade unions are sometimes too remote from the development of qualifications, so that they end up having limited value in the labour market.

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