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5 Of The Most Important Vocational Skills For Students

How ready for the world did you feel when you stepped out of the school gates for the last time?

If you’re anything like students of today, the answer is probably not very.

Only 43 percent of young people in the UK report feeling prepared for employment, and a whopping 81 percent feel schools and colleges should teach more vocational skills and courses.

Add this to the fact that nine out of ten employers believe vocational skills are just as important as academic qualifications, and it’s clear something is wrong.

However, bringing full-blown vocational training courses into schools seem highly unrealistic, at least with today’s budgets. So what can teachers do about it, if anything?

As you’ll see from our list below, many of tomorrow’s jobs are actually based in skills that can be nurtured from a very early age. And as a result, vocational training can start with the simple act of helping students realise what’s possible and figure out which direction they should go in.

Here are five vocational skills for students that can be cultivated from the get go and that will help ensure them a long and prosperous career.

1. Cooking

Chefs are in high demand and always will be. A report from found that around a quarter of chef jobs are still unfilled and on the website after two months.

One reason for this is because the kitchen will long be safe from automation. A robot will arguably never be able to combine manual skills and creativity in the unique way a chef can.

But what’s best about this vocational skill for students is that every single person has the means to practice it at home. This may look like trying our innovative dishes and flavours, experimenting with healthy meals on a low budget, or recreating menus from their favourite chefs or restaurants.

2. Marketing, Communications, and Design

One of the largest industries in the UK, and likely where many of your students will end up, is the creative triad of marketing, communications, and design.

Any student who’s creative and likes generating ideas will find a place there, whether their affinity is for all things visual, oral, or written. Again, the focus on creativity means it safe from automation — at least for the time being. And as we spend more and more time in the digital world, the demand for such services and such out-the-box thinking is only going to grow.

3. Health and Social Care

It’s no secret that the NHS is suffering from a shortage of healthcare workers, particularly nurses. And with a recent drop in nursing applicants and an increase in how long people are living, it seems like this deficiency is only going to get worse.

By 2037, the number of people over 75 will have almost doubled. And even though technology will have advanced leaps and bounds by then, it will never replace the need for the human touch. An education in healthcare is, of course, critical, but interpersonal and communication skills, along with empathy and critical thinking, is arguably what matters most.

4. Education and Training

I don’t need to tell you that teachers are in high demand — especially good ones. And despite education moving into the online world, like nursing, there’s something about the human factor that means teachers will always be in demand.

But tech and teaching are not mutually exclusive. In fact, technology could provide the biggest opportunities for those looking to teach in the future. Video platforms like YouTube, Udemy, and Skype allow teachers to deliver one-on-one and group classes with students all over the world.

The industry of online teaching is already booming, and what were once barriers to access and learning are being broken down every day. Add that to the fact you are a teacher, and teaching is one of the best vocational skills for students.

5. Data and Programming

We live online. Kids under 9 spend over two hours online a day. With all this screen time, millions of bits of data are scooped up on us every single moment.

If it’s not, then, privacy and cyber security, students with an interest in computing will go on to work as software developers or big data analysts. Programming is the most sought after vocational skill in the UK, whilst big data is one of the highest valued sectors in the world.

What students need most here may be mainly technical skills, but with tools like Raspberry Pi and Google coding for kids, they can start practicing them from an early age. Not to mention skills like focus and critical thinking which are severely lacking in students today but will be essential.


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