A Practical Way of Learning; Vocational Education Can Give You the Practical Skills and the Confidence Needed to Move Seamlessly into the Industry of Your Choice. by Sarah Richardson

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Byline: Sarah Richardson

WHY spend three or more years studying an academic subject such as English or economics when you can opt for a course that is career-specific and is designed to equip you ready for work in a particular employment or industry sector? While taking an academic subject can give you a broad intellectual base from which you can specialise after you graduate, vocational courses tend to be more practical and skills-focused, and many include work-related projects or work experience. Assessment for some vocational courses can be on a continuous basis and students are required to complete practical tasks and assignments throughout the year.

According to Chris Jones, director general and CEO of City & Guilds, the UK's leading vocational education organisation, growing numbers of people are recognising the value of work-related learning and equipping themselves with the right skills and training they need to succeed and lead in today's fast-paced economy.

"With apprenticeships and workrelated learning now a firm priority on the UK's education agenda, demand for skills-based courses in London has never been higher," he says.

In London, vocational learning awards through City & Guilds have risen by more than 15 per cent over the Past 12 months, with the most popular courses in London including electrical installation, finance and accounting, security and teaching support.

"The data clearly shows that vocational education is vital to the recovery and future success of our economy, providing both the technicians skilled in the new technologies of tomorrow and the next generation of people who can continue the traditions of established trades," adds Jones. "City & Guilds is leading a new kind of talent revolution to ensure our future workforce has the right training to compete on a global level."

Approximately 1.8 million people are currently working towards a City & Guilds qualification in the UK and Ireland.

Safra Siddique is currently studying a new qualification which bridges the gap between vocational learning and gaining an academic degree. By taking a Foundation degree at the Montessori Centre International (MCI) she can aspire to a BA (Hons) in early childhood -- students receive a course credit with London Metropolitan University on successful completion of the first two years at MCI. Originally from Sri Lanka, where the Montessori method has a big influence on the education system, Safra benefited from a Montessori education as a child and has Montessori teachers -- and school proprietors -- within her extended family. …