What exactly is vocational training?

‘Vocational training’ is a phrase that is often used by education and training institutions. But what exactly does it mean, and how will it benefit your career?

Vocational training definition:
Businessdictionary.com defines vocational training as:
“Training that emphasizes skills and knowledge required for a particular job function (such as typing or data entry) or a trade (such as carpentry or welding).”

Vocational training can also, amongst other things, be called:

Career education
Technical training
Skills development

Basically, vocational training is education or training that prepares you for the day-to-day duties that you will be doing in your specific trade, craft, profession, or role. It equips you with real skills, as opposed to theoretical knowledge only.

The different types of vocational training:

Vocational training can come from many different sources, depending on your particular needs, resources, and circumstances:

Formal education

You can start vocational training at secondary school level already – by completing a Technical Matric Certificate. Unlike a regular National Senior Certificate, Technical Matric covers more work-related subjects, such as:

Business English
Engineering Science

You can also start your formal vocational training with your post-high school education, by choosing either a technical university or a private or public TVET college that offers National Qualifications and SETA (Sector Education and Training Authority) accredited courses.

Oxbridge Academy for example, is a leading distance learning college offering vocational training courses in 25 professional fields.

Apprenticeship

Because vocational training is often needed to enter a trade profession, such as welding or electrical engineering, apprenticeships are often used to provide this kind of training.
An apprenticeship is basically an opportunity for you to learn a trade by working alongside a skilled professional in an actual work environment.

Apprenticeships can also come in the form of learnerships in South Africa. A learnership forms part of your National Diploma if you are doing an N4 to N6 qualification. Your learnership will essentially form the work-based portion of your course and will give you practical experience to complement the theoretical coursework.

On-the-job training

Vocational training can also happen on the job, at the behest of your employer. In this context, training can either be provided directly by your company, or by a third-party training provider sourced by your company.
Employers often help their employees enrol for relevant training programmes, as it holds tax benefits for them if they are liable for skills development levies.

Continuous development

Vocational training can also be undertaken by qualified professionals for a number of reasons, such as:
Fulfilling the membership requirements of professional organisations
Updating outdated skills
Expanding skill sets
Learning an additional trade

Continuous development is easiest to do through online learning, or distance learning, if you don’t want to take time off from your current job to complete your programme. In today’s labour market, continuous development has become very important for professionals who want to succeed.

Want to find out more about how you can start studying a vocational course? Click here.