With academics remaining an increasingly popular gateway into the modern world of work, how do young aspiring workers and students find their vocational training to be beneficial to them?

Vocational training, as commonly defined, refers to education that aims to specialise in a particular field or trade. These types of courses are commonly linked to qualifications in Business, Media or generally and trade or job-specific training, such as an advanced technician.

This directly contrasts more academic fields of education, such as qualifications undertaken in subjects like English, History or Maths. While these qualifications at degree level or lower don't train their students in any one set area of work, they do act as an incredibly beneficial pathway to more broad work opportunities that rely on skills gained from these subjects, such as strong analytical and communication ability.

It was the biggest jump, but the quickest journey!
- Kayleigh Lea

The now-graduated nurse opened up about her experiences in vocational training, stating: "I completed my access course at Halesowen college then seconded my experience through my 3-year nursing degree at BCU [Birmingham City University]. Now, as a qualified community sister, I couldn't imagine doing anything else!" For reference, Access to Higher Education courses are 2-year-long programmes that are available for those who are 19 over and are particularly useful for cases in which a student has little recent experience in an educational environment.

"I'll admit, I enjoyed the hands-on aspect of my degree much more than the academic aspect, but that doesn't mean I'm not a good, knowledgeable and registered nurse. All it means is I learn a bit differently from other people."

Lea, now working at Royal Orthopaedic Hospital, is now progressing on to further education and stated: "I'm eagerly awaiting to start my post-grad [postgraduate] degree at Birmingham City University in September to broaden my career!"

What other opportunities can arise from vocational training?

Vocational training can also lead to a range of other work opportunities, such as advanced electrical work. Take Jordan Wilde, a former student at Dudley College who completed a City and Guilds 2357 Level 3 qualification in Electrical Installation, followed by a 2391 course in Inspection and Testing, stating: "I strongly recommend vocational training to anyone who prefers solely hands-on work. We have a severe lack of trades people in England and the West Midlands area who are truly dedicated and skilled. I currently work as a manager of Maintenance Operations at Cradley Enterprise Centre and I could not fulfil my line of work properly without my prior training, that allowed me to diversify my range of skills and gain knowledge in a field I am truly passionate about."

Vocational training can also lead to direct work placements in specific industries that may hold appropriate opportunities to give their students an in-depth view into how businesses that require their skills may allow them to use their training in a fully accurate environment, where Jordan was also granted a placement as a result of his qualifications as an apprentice.