Academic Snobbery and the perceived value of VET Training in Australia

One of the issues I have encountered recently that I had not really previous encountered, is one that usually starts with one of the following sentences;

“I have a degree in……..” or

“When I taught at university we……….”

usually right before commenting about the value of VET (Vocational Sector) Training and the perception that there was no value it for them because they possessed a degree of some description.

What is interesting about this is the fact that most of the people making these comments have degrees which while qualifying them for one part of their job description, do not by default give them any skills in the other areas of their work.  For example a person who has a degree in a social work or counselling area, may be well qualified for the counselling side of their role, however if they have management or supervision functions in their role, their degree does not by necessity give them the skill set for that.  This should not be a problem however as undertaking a Diploma or Advanced Diploma or even a vocational graduate certificate/diploma would combined with work based training would upskill them to the necessary level in a short period of time.  A problem does exist though and this is that there is a percieved lack of value in the VET qualificiation, even the vocational qualificiations and that the only qualificiation that could possibly be of value to them (because they possess a degree) is another qualificiation issued by a University (Graduate Certificate, Diploma, Masters etc)

So this brings me to the real question how does one build the perception of value in workforces where their a high level of degree qualified workers and view that competency based vocational training is not as valuable as a University Degree even if the degree is in an area that doesn’t relate directly to job role/responsibilities.


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