Could Vocational Training Be What You Need For a Career Boost?

Could Vocational Training Be What You Need For a Career Boost?
Jobstreet content teamupdated on 09 January, 2023

A university degree opens many professional doors, but it is hardly a fast-track ticket to success. It doesn't even guarantee that you'll get there. Ultimately, your skills, work ethic, and attitude will matter more, especially in a specialised, hands-on profession.

If you absorb more from practical learning or prefer more tailored instruction, perhaps you may be more suited to vocational training. This type of instruction allows you to gain much-needed work skills and know-how, allowing you a foot in the door to your field, particularly in terms of experience.

What Is Vocational Training?

Vocational training refers to short courses or programmes that target specialised or technical skills needed in a specific occupation or job function.

For example, your Broadcast Journalism degree may have introduced you to subjects in Newswriting, Creative Writing, Marketing, Advertising, and Production. It gives you a taste of everything quickly, but you fail to experience the whole pie. You may be qualified to apply for Marketing roles, but there may be a gap in the comprehensive skills you need to thrive fully in the field.

Vocational education can help you bridge that gap, taking you from a jack of all trades to a master of whatever you choose to study and giving you the relevant skills you need to succeed in your chosen path.

Enrolling in a certificate programme can supplement your academic training or degree or serve as an alternative. Unlike in most colleges or universities where you learn broad and theoretical knowledge related (and sometimes unrelated) to your chosen course, a certificate program allows you to gain the technical skills and knowledge you will need for a specific job.

Also read: Specialist vs Generalist: Can It Affect Your Career Path?

Advantages of Vocational Training

Gone are the days when society viewed vocational education as a last resort or a dead-end option. At the World Vocational and Technical Education Development Conference, Minister for Education Chan Chun Sing stated that anticipating, adapting, and advancing are part of the long-term vision for vocational education. The goal is to evolve your skills for the fast-paced global market.

In Singapore, vocational education has created more opportunities to acquire skills and knowledge. It also emphasises employability and lifelong learning in a global economy.

Vocational training is short but comprehensive, with the necessary skill set for excellence and competence in various fields. It also presents advantages that increase employment and career success.

Affordable and efficient

Graduating from a university still has its perks and advantages. It opens your eyes to the different career possibilities you can explore in your chosen field and allows you to grow in many ways. However, if you are determined on a specific career path or looking for a more affordable educational option that still guarantees employability, then vocational training is for you. It can help save you time and money while directing your energy towards a more definite set of skills and knowledge.

Allows you to enter the workforce earlier

Vocational training is relatively shorter than college programs. However, they are more targeted and concise since it focuses on particular skills required in a distinct occupation. It allows you to be part of the workforce at a sooner time.

Focus on practical skills and job-readiness

Vocational training focuses on hands-on training. It dives into what you must do in a specific job. You gain the necessary skills and the relevant experience you will need to flourish in the workplace.

Adaptable and flexible

Face it; a college education can be considered a privilege and is not always accessible. Vocational education gives those who need a more flexible option (both in terms of time and money) the chance to get reliable training while balancing other personal or work obligations.

Promotes skills development

If you’re already working, vocational training allows you to upskill and achieve career advancement. It lets you further specialise in a specific field, gain skills and knowledge for career changes, or build your resume for possible higher positions.

Types of Vocational Training

High School Career and Technical Education

Career and Technical Education (CTE) exposes students to different career paths. They can dip their toes to discover more about industry-specific work and the skills needed to pursue it.

Tech Prep Education

This vocational training helps students transition from a school to a work setup. It is usually recommended for tech-related careers where students are equipped with academic knowledge and technical skills relevant to the field. Such training focuses on the following:

  • Applied Economics
  • Science
  • Health
  • Engineering
  • Technology

Postsecondary Vocational Education

This type of vocational education provides industry-specific knowledge and skills. The duration may vary depending on the institution and level of certification. You can earn a degree, diploma, or certificate. Here are some examples of career paths with vocational courses available:

Apprenticeship Programmes

Typically a combination of classroom learning and on-the-job training, apprenticeship programs allow students to learn by doing. In this type of vocational education, you earn while learning and immersing yourself in a specific job.

Unlike internships, which are usually unpaid and do not guarantee work in the company after, apprenticeships are basically on-the-job training and are typically compensated. The latter is a stepping stone to employment.

Distance Learning Programmes

Contrary to a traditional learning setup where both the student and the teacher should be physically present in the classroom, distance or asynchronous learning is purely internet-based. This learning method follows a student’s pace and availability in completing a program. It’s much more flexible and beneficial to part-time students who may be occupied with other personal or professional matters.

Unlike online learning, distance learning does not include peer-to-peer or professor-to-student interaction at a specific time. This remote setup makes it possible to acquire certificates from top universities regardless of geography.

Sample Jobs for Vocational Training Graduates

1. Dental Assistant

As a dental assistant, your tasks include assisting dentists in carrying out dental treatments. Your job description may also involve creating an inventory of the stocks and upholding equipment cleanliness and maintenance.

2. Administrative Assistant

Administrative assistants are in charge of filing and organising company documents and providing overall support for daily office needs. They are also responsible for managing and distributing information. Other duties may include answering phone calls, scheduling meetings, and composing and disseminating memos, letters, etc.

3. Assistant Teacher

In this job, you must support the teacher in creating a safe learning environment for students. You will be asked to participate and contribute to lesson planning, preparation, and application of different learning activities. Teaching assistants are usually required in early childhood learning institutions or universities.

4. Computer Programmer

Writing, modifying, testing, and updating program codes for software functions are part of a computer programmer’s job description. You will also be tasked to maintain and troubleshoot different software applications.

5. Digital Marketer

Digital marketers are in charge of a brand’s digital channels, generating leads and increasing brand awareness. They are responsible for a brand’s online presence and consumer relations by working on effective marketing campaigns.

6. Automotive Mechanic

Auto mechanics make sure cars run smoothly. Their responsibilities include the inspection of vehicles, routine maintenance, and repair jobs.

7. Maintenance Technician

As a maintenance technician, you are to oversee the maintenance and inspection of different equipment. You are in charge of the upkeep of the facility you work in and may have to work on repairs when necessary.

Where to Enrol for Vocational Training?

There are a lot of institutions in Singapore that offer diploma or certificate courses. The key is to search for the best one that aligns with your career goals. Here are some to jumpstart your search.

Sim Global Education

Sim Global Education (SIM) provides skills-based learning experiences and opportunities to upskill and empower professionals. They boast of partnerships with different reputable universities to support lifelong learning.

Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts

The Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) offers a variety of diploma courses in the vast field of creatives. They have been providing high-quality education with an innovative curriculum since 1938.

PSB Academy

PSB Academy also known as “The Future Academy” paves the way for youth to carve an engineering career. The school offers certificates and diplomas in engineering foundation and mechanical and electrical engineering.

Spectra Secondary School

Spectra Secondary School works closely with the Institute of Technical Education to provide a quality education focusing on real-work experience for its students.

Institute of Technical Education

The Institute of Technical Education (ITE) is the primary provider of career and technical education in Singapore. It offers three key programmes namely:

  • Pre-employment Training for the Youth after Secondary Education
  • Continuing Education and Training for Adult Learners
  • Workplace Learning and Work-Study Programmes with Employers

Whatever type of training you choose, never forget that your ability to adapt and grow is the secret to any success. You must always be open and willing to learn, whether in university, enrolled in vocational training, or already working. Upskilling and reskilling are necessary to maintain your professional relevance these days.

Keep updating yourself and don’t forget to add any new courses or certifications to your JobStreet profile. For more expert advice on bettering your career, visit the Career Resources page. Download JobStreet on App Store and Google Play.

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