Reform needed to reap the benefits of vocational education and training, says OECD


Governments should work closely with employers and unions to improve the quality of vocational training and make sure courses give young people the skills they need to find work in today’s tough labour market . These are among the recommendations in Learning for Jobs, a new OECD report on vocational education and training, designed to help countries make their vocational systems more responsive to labour market needs and boost economic growth.


The report recommends:


Promote workplace learning with incentives for both employers and students. Ensure that training is of good quality, with effective quality assurance and contractual frameworks for apprentices.

Provide the right skills, with a mix of programmes reflecting both student preferences and employers’ needs. Ensure all students in vocational programmes have sufficient numeracy and literacy skills to support lifelong learning and career development.  Beyond secondary level, share costs among government, employers and students based on benefits obtained.


Reform career guidance to yield a coherent profession, independent from psychological counselling, adequately resourced and well-informed by labour market information. Provide an independent base to support objective career guidance, pro-actively delivered.


Sustain the workforce of vocational teachers and trainers: Promote flexible pathways of recruitment and encourage teachers and trainers to spend time in industry. In the workplace, provide appropriate pedagogical preparation to those responsible for trainees and apprentices.


Engage employers and unions in vocational policy and provision. Adopt standardised national assessment frameworks to underpin quality and consistency in training provision. Enhance data on the labour market outcomes.
For the Learning for Jobs project, OECD has reviewed vocational education and training policy in Australia, Austria, Belgium (Flanders), Chile, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Korea, the People’s Republic of China, Mexico, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom (England and Wales), and the United States (South Carolina and Texas).  Individual country reviews and other material are available on the website.


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