What is VET really like?


Vocational Education and Training (VET) students do not enjoy the same social standing as students in academic education. This is clearly shown in the results from OBESSU’s survey on VET, conducted among its member and observer organisations. This survey was completed by representatives from 14 out of 21 countries that OBESSU’s members reside in. The survey displays some immediate problems with VET as it is today; problems that transcend differences in systems and countries.

First of all VET is perceived as a low level education. In 12 countries this seems to be one of the biggest problems. This corresponds to a Eurobarometer published by the European Commission in October 2011, which showed that only 27% of young people would recommend a VET education to their peers. This is a big problem because VET is not a second rate education, and it should not be perceived as such. This is the message of OBESSU, which was also agreed upon by the participants of the 7th European School Student Convention in Oslo. But why do young people in Europe still see Vocational Education and Training as worth less than a general academic secondary education?

Another significant problem highlighted in the OBESSU survey is that when choosing an education, young people do not have enough information to make an informed choice. This is clear since 73% of respondents specifically selected “lack of information concerning possible choices in education” as one of the biggest problems. Furthermore, this is linked to problem of the perception of VET mentioned above, for the reason that if students are not familiar with all the educational choices available, they are bound to rely on advice from peers, parents and just choose what they know.

See all the results from the survey here: VET infographic


Written by Johanne Stenstrup