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.


About pauldrasmussen
Paul Rasmussen is one of Australia’s most widely read Vocational Education and Training Commentators. He provides deep, unbiased analysis and insights not only on topical issues, but also on the underlying structure and policy which supports the industry. His writing and analysis has been praised for its uncompromising and thought provoking style and its ability to focus on the issues of real importance to the sector. He has advised various government departments and ministers, training providers, public and private organisations, not for profits and small to medium enterprises on the VET sector and the issues and opportunities facing it. He is one of Australia’s most awarded learning professionals and a regular speaker at a range of conventions and forums. His extensive experience in vocational education, and learning and development coupled with formal qualifications in philosophy, ethics, business and education management allow Paul to provide a unique view of the road ahead and how to navigate it.

One Response to Academic Snobbery and the perceived value of VET Training in Australia

  1. Pingback: VET vs University – A continuing Divide. | Organisational Learning and Development

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