By Julie Edwards
Vocational Education and Training (VET) is often considered to be useful only for those in the trades, or for people entering the workplace to gain basic skills for employment. However, it is important to note that there are many VET qualifications that are recognised as equivalent to first year and second year university. At graduate level VET qualifications provide pathways with credit towards MBA degrees.
In the workplace, many organisations provide internal employee development programs. One way to do this is to utilise diploma qualifications; therefore, better enabling promotion from within. It is so much better to start developing staff prior to them actually being in a situation where they need to know what to do. The joy of being promoted can soon dissipate into feelings of failure when the new leader/manager has to stand up and present a budget, or marketing strategy, for their department if they have not been fully prepared for this.
For example, a Diploma of Hospitality Management or a Diploma of Travel and Tourism Management can be designed to develop potential, and new leaders, within the tourism and hospitality industry. Alternatively, a more generic qualification such as the Diploma of Leadership and Management could be used. The qualifications mentioned incorporate units in financial planning, marketing, recruitment, and enhancing the customer experience. With a project-based approach, students can apply what they are learning directly to the workplace.
A Graduate Diploma of Strategic Leadership includes planning, people management, ethics, negotiation, business trends, change management and research, all of which provide higher level skills as required within a modern business. These skills are not gained by osmosis. This higher level qualification focuses on the bigger picture and long term vision, and incorporates the development of a corporate culture.
There are many examples of how VET programs, at this level, can be used to transition an employee from line staff to team leader to senior executive.
Julie Edwards is the Director of Education at Edwards Institute of Further Education and holds several qualifications including a Master of Lifelong Learning, Graduate Certificate in Tertiary Teaching, Graduate Certificate in Training and Development and a Bachelor of Arts.