My primary interest in pursuing a graduate degree in Instructional Design is to gain the necessary background for a post-retirement third career in adult vocational education. I have two reasons for my interest in vocational education: one personal and one professional.

I was a terrible K-12 student, graduating high school with straight minimal passing grades of 75. I only chose to finish high school because I needed a diploma to enlist in the Navy, which I did five days after graduation. When I left high school, I had no interest in ever seeing the inside of a classroom. Ever again. Then, as a newly enlisted sailor, the navy pushed me into 20 months of increasingly more advanced vocational training in electronics technology before I reported to my first submarine.

The structure of technical training suited my learning issues in ways K-12 education never did.  The Navy vocational training programs I was forced to take gave me a second chance at a meaningful career, and ultimately rekindled my interest in pursuing continued education.

For my third career I would like to give back something of what I have learned to today’s young adults looking for their second chance. I see skills-focused training as means of getting adults with a checkered history in primary education into the workforce earning a living and pursuing a career.

Which brings me to my second reason for an interest in vocational training; I see a vast unfilled need for people trained for hands-on careers in this country. College educations are increasingly more expensive which puts them out of financial range for too many people. However, a career of using one’s hands to build things should not be considered second-rate to a career that requires a college degree.  

There is a vast need in this country for skilled workers. As just one current example; General Dynamics Electric Boat company in Groton, Connecticut, had to partner with the US Navy and their home state for funding to create training programs for tradesmen needed to build the Columbia class fleet ballistic missile submarine, while simultaneously building the Virginia class fast attack submarine. They have the plant facilities but lack the 1200 workers with needed skills.

I’m going to make a pitch for vocational training by showcasing a few short videos of vocational programs in other countries.

What is Vocational Training?

This is a discussion on reasons for considering a vocational training program and vocational career, from members of the Lester B. Pearson School Board. The Lester B. Pearson School Board is one of the largest school boards on the island of Montreal and one of the nine English school boards in the province of Quebec, headquartered in Dorval, Quebec.

Germany’s Vocational Training Programs

This video is produced by the German chambers of industry and commerce (IHKs), explaining the successful German dual education system. The German term ‘chamber,’ is similar to an English guild, but is required under German law and provides the political influence of a trade union. The various “chambers” are organized under the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK). This organization was formerly known as the Deutscher Industrie- und Handelstag or DIHT.

DIHK Website (German)

German-American Chambers of Commerce (AHK) – Affiliated American Organization

Vocational Education and Training in the Netherlands

A discussion of the vocational education and training program in the Netherlands, produced by European Center for Development of Vocational Training (cedefop).