How New Technical and Vocational Learning Pathways Can Equip Post-16s Job Seekers and Plug the Gaping Skills Gap

Times have changed and what have once considered traditional skills learned in Universities that guaranteed jobs after school are no longer the case. Employers are looking for different skill sets that people in the job market don’t have, resulting in a skills gap. This phenomenon didn’t happen overnight. It took years in the making, finally culminating in a shortage in skilled labor across the manufacturing, long-haul transportation, construction, social care and AI industries, to name a few.

In a recent 2020 McKinsey report, 87 percent of global companies are experiencing skills gaps or are expecting gaps to come up within the next five years. The welding industry worldwide is already feeling the effects of the skills gap, with the US expecting 375,000 unfilled welder jobs by 2024. If you want to see the skills gap for yourself, all you need to do is look at the online job board in the construction, manufacturing, IT and health industry to see the vast number of jobs advertised without takers.

To provide a long-term solution to the problem, new technical and vocational learning pathways are being implemented worldwide. These can come in the form of boot camps, certification, implementation of edtech (educational technology) or employee-funded learning. However, how do these different pathways help augment the skills gap? Let’s find out.

Edtech Allows For More Flexibility in Learning

If there’s one thing, the pandemic taught us its importance to retool, reskill and focus on lifelong learning. Edtech or the use of technology in education, allows students to access their classes remotely. Having small classes gives people more options on how, where and when they take their classes. Things like AI-based remote teaching assistants can shift education to be learner-centric, adjusting the class to the needs of the students. Remote learning can also be a valuable option for people who want to reskill or shift careers but don’t have time to commit fully to face-to-face classes.

Vocational Education Have Lower Fees Compared to Traditional Education Institutions

People who are eager to learn but are put off by the high fees and level of commitment in traditional education turn to vocational learning because it’s more affordable and offers more flexibility. Lower fees and the diminishing stigma of going to a vocational school increased student enrollment this 2021.

Vocational Education as a Faster Route to Employment

For those between 16- and 21-years-old who want to work right away, a traditional University degree is a long and expensive way to get there, requiring three to four years of full-time commitment, coupled with a sizeable student loan debt. Alternative learning towards a specific industry provides a shorter route, a more learner-centered approach and most often, guaranteed employment after graduation.

Vocational education worked for Germany, where 68 percent of their vocational school graduates have employment after graduation.

A Different Approach to Lifelong Learning to Augment the Skills Gap

The skills gap forces people to reevaluate the traditional educational route because it’s no longer working in today’s changing work environment. Technological advancements like automation are forcing people to retool to keep up with the new skills needed in their jobs and young people are turning more towards a shorter route to employment through vocational training. Perhaps the way education is approached as a response to the skill gap can be summarized in Danielle DiMartino, an economic consultant and author. She said, We always talk about, “is this stock recession-proof?” Now we should ask ourselves, “Is this profession recession-proof?” Are you interested in lifelong learning and bridging the skills gap through new learning pathways? We can help. Get in touch with us today.

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