TVET/VET and Entrepreneurship

Inspired by TVET/VET Leaders from across the world in Bonn, Germany this week, for the UNESCO UNEVOC Programme, this blog is written for you and colleagues working to improve TVET systems in your country.

Most people agree that Technical Vocational Education Training (TVET/VET) solves a number of problems but there are a number of problems with TVET/VET.  These include:

  1. Lack of flexibility and responsiveness in training
  2. Disadvantaged groups not supported
  3. Mismatch of training and skills required for jobs
  4. Specific skills gaps
  5. Unemployed or underemployed youth

Evidence of monitoring and evaluation is important and now there are many examples of people (students, employers, industry sectors) not choosing TVET or where there are a number of TVET trained graduates, the job opportunities are slim.

TVET’s biggest problem is relevance, getting skills and competencies into the curriculum to keep pace with employers, entrepreneurs and industry needs and this is aside from the requirements of future job roles.

Entrepreneurship isn’t always a natural relationship as many think about TVET programs as the main outcome, but an entrepreneurial mind set is relevant for broader TVET policy, products (curriculum, Training Packages) and practice.

In this context entrepreneurship isn’t only about exploring your own entrepreneurial business ideas and starting up a business, but intrapreneurship i.e. being an entrepreneur for your employer, and social enterprises balancing social outcomes.

It is clear that the number 1 job role for career resilience is entrepreneurship.  Many countries are embracing entrepreneurship because they can see the problems that it potentially solves with an 80/20 rule about common problems across the world.

So you might be asking how could entrepreneurial thinking be applied to TVET?  Well consider the 6 sides of a Rubiks cube.  The more of the six sides that your solution covers, the more innovative and higher level outcomes you will achieve.  In the work we undertake the 6 sides are:

  1. Career Development and Youth
  2. Education and Training
  3. Employers and Industry
  4. Employment and Entrepreneurship
  5. Regions and Countries
  6. 21st Century Capabilities and Future Jobs

At this time, many entrepreneurial programs sit outside of the TVET Framework, they may be non-accredited or connect to primary and high school education, higher education and universities, industry sectors, regions, research, perhaps designed for specific cohorts including people with disabilities, seniors, youth and women.

It is clear that entrepreneurship features alongside 21st Century STEM as one of the nine 21st Century Capabilities and there is the opportunity for a broader application of an entrepreneurial mindset to TVET products, policy, programs and practice.

On the point of policy, for good examples see:

An emerging approach to a lean startup model applied to TVET curriculum development, that captures learning outcomes from anywhere, any time and for any purpose is xAPI (Experience API).

This interoperable, international standard could see a global set of capabilities, as well as user generated statements on skills and competencies.  The best way to understand more about xAPI is to begin to apply it to your own learning, experiences and programs.  See if you can write a couple of xAPI statements as a starting point.

TVET stands for Technical Vocational Education Training and with an entrepreneurial approach TVET = Test, Validate, Expand and Tune.  A key take away is get something to a Minimum Viable Product and try it out on a small scale rather than take months or years to consult and design something that becomes out of date before you start implementation.  You might not realise it at first but a lean startup approach to TVET can save many costs, time and resources.  If you would like to know more,please email wendy@workforceblueprint.com.auDanke schön.

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