Baby boomers can remember a time when a father without a college education and no skills could get work in a factory and make enough money to pay for a home, two cars and count upon financial security while supporting his family of four or even five. Those days, in many industrialized countries, are gone. The trend is that work is often temporary, with wages that have been stagnant for decades, and the need for both parents to work outside of the home.
In many countries, the manufacturing jobs that the majority of unskilled workers relied upon have gone to countries where workers are paid less per hour. Even countries that have been the beneficiaries of these manufacturing jobs have begun to see these jobs migrate to other countries where the cost of living is even lower.
Also, as Forbes explains, a college diploma is no longer the guarantee of any kind of employment in one’s major field. In fact, worldwide, many college graduates end up working in occupations that are not related to their major field of study and do not require more education than a high school diploma.
It is for these reasons that Sanjeev Mansotra exhorts us to consider vocational education.
Why is Vocational Education and Learning a Trade Important?
Skilled Work That Cannot Be Sent Overseas –
According to The Simple Dollar, vocational education leads to skilled jobs for local workers. For example, plumbers do not work online; they work in existing homes or businesses or ones under construction. The same is true of nurses, automobile mechanics, and other construction workers. These are all jobs that must be done locally. These jobs will never go to another country, as is the danger of manufacturing jobs.
The Unsatisfied Demand for Skilled Workers –
According to The Atlantic, in many industrialized countries, skilled workers are reaching retirement age, and there are simply not enough replacements available. Part of the reason for this was the decline in vocational education in the 1980s and 1990s and the loss of many good vocational education courses in high schools – except in Europe, where half of all secondary students receive vocational education. So, while many colleges graduate languor in low-paying work that they could have obtained with their high school diplomas alone, many skilled labor jobs remain unfilled.
The Trades Learned in Vocational Schools Are Always in Demand –
In vocational schools, students learn trades such as nursing, X-ray technology, dental hygiene, carpentry, electrical wiring, plumbing, and automobile mechanics. The need for workers in these skilled trades is not going away. These jobs are always in demand and are more recession-proof than careers that require a college degree.
Beginning with a Vocational Education Does Not Preclude a Student from Additional Education –
According to Forbes, many students who graduate a vocational program with a viable trade will go back to school in order to learn more skills and advance their job prospects. One can still pursue that college degree while working in the trade learned in a vocational school. Also, Forbes reminded us that the students of today in high school will have many different careers in their lifetimes. They will need to get frequent education to tool up for their next career move.
The Cost of Vocational Education is a Fraction of a College Degree Program –
According to The Simple Dollar, students who graduate vocational programs will enter the workforce more rapidly, often in half the time or less. They will have spent a fraction of the cost of a typical bachelor’s degree. Thus, they will not begin their working lives strapped to heavy debt loads and can begin earning money sooner. Not every student can afford a college education, and many do not qualify for scholarships. Vocational education fills this financial gap and inequity as well.
Many Tech Sector Jobs Can Be Learned in Vocational Schools and Boot Camps –
Even though many tech sector jobs can easily be done anywhere in the world remotely, people around the world are finding that they can attend online programming boot camps for reasonable fees and move to jobs earning good money as programmers. Granted, these are jobs for coders that are often entry-level, but even jobs such as these do not necessarily require a four-year degree.
Sanjeev Mansotra reminds young people who are graduating from high school that they may not be able to count upon moving into a career field upon graduation from college. Also, good-paying, unskilled factory jobs, since they are so easy to export to other countries, cannot be counted on in the long run to provide financial security. In between these two extremes, though, are skilled occupations that must be carried out locally. They pay wages that can provide a good standard of living for a family, even with children. Today in many countries, these skilled occupations are a bulwark against the cycles of booms and busts created by globalism and crony capitalism.