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Are vocational degree courses the future? watch

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    More and more I've noticed degree courses popping up about a lot more niche and specific things than your general chemistry degree, or philosophy for instance.

    Especially with a lot of the newer universities (though not exclusively) there are degree courses with seemingly quite clear career attachments to them.

    With workforce statistics in recent years talking about how people no longer stick to one career, is this a sensible move for the higher education sector?

    Is this something we'll continue to see more of?

    Is it a good thing for the Labour market?



    Some examples for the general things I'm talking about...*

    BSc (Hons) Secondary Mathematics Education with QTS

    Construction Project Management, BSc (Hons)

    BA (Hons)Entertainment Management

    *this is not me singling out these courses for any reason, I am not trying to attack them, or advertise them and I do not wish to debate these courses specifically but the general trend they are examples of.
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    I think as more young people (and parents) question the value of going to university it's important that universities offer something with a clear progression path for those that want this. That construction BSc is a good example of courses that include an accreditation too

    Recognised by the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the Chartered Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors (CICES).

    I think if university was free/ low fee then the spotlight on ROI wouldn't be so great, in which case perhaps some of these courses wouldn't be available. But because fees are now in the region of £9250 universities have to ensure that their courses have tangible outcomes and their grads are very employable.....

    I think if these are the careers and the courses that students want then this is a great opportunity and low risk.... but if students now feel like the only courses they apply for must have a determined career outcome then that's a real shame - students may be choosing courses that a) they feel pressured to do b) have little interest in c) simply won't enjoy and that affects their whole university experience and can have a detrimental effect on their confidence and self-esteem.
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    My degree isn't vocational officially but it feels that way. My parent says that it seems like a halfway between a degree and an apprenticeship to them, this is because there is a massive focus on working with professional industry (i have worked with two companies and one charity on live briefs this year) and that focus on real world skills that employers look for is really valuable imo and something more degrees should try to include where possible.
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    (Original post by CoolCavy)
    My degree isn't vocational officially but it feels that way. My parent says that it seems like a halfway between a degree and an apprenticeship to them, this is because there is a massive focus on working with professional industry (i have worked with two companies and one charity on live briefs this year) and that focus on real world skills that employers look for is really valuable imo and something more degrees should try to include where possible.
    That's really interesting Cavy, do you mind me asking what your course subject is?

    How have you found the company/ charity briefs? Do you feel like it's already benefited you? Will you be doing a placement year/ internship as part of your course later on down the line?
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    (Original post by She-Ra)
    That's really interesting Cavy, do you mind me asking what your course subject is?

    How have you found the company/ charity briefs? Do you feel like it's already benefited you? Will you be doing a placement year/ internship as part of your course later on down the line?
    I do design, will pm you the type of design cos don't want to say publicly
    They have been ok, i think it's good to get used to working with professionals and the etiquette of doing so (like what things you have to keep secret and stuff). I think so just because it's been good experience. My charity project has been chosen for manufacture we are just waiting on templates (am allowed to say that because it's charity and they said we could talk about it publicly). The other two companies will take designs on and then pay you for the idea (either in royalties or lump sum) and then manufacture it but they haven't decided on whose they are taking forward. If your designs aren't chosen you can put on your CV that you have worked with them still (you can name them because you and your IP have been released) and if they are chosen you aren't allowed to talk about the company or the idea until it hits the market but after that it's a really valuable thing to have on your CV because it's real design experience.
    Yeh the uni really pushes for people to do a paid year in industry for 3rd year, i intend to do one if i can get one
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    (Original post by 04MR17)
    More and more I've noticed degree courses popping up about a lot more niche and specific things than your general chemistry degree, or philosophy for instance.

    Especially with a lot of the newer universities (though not exclusively) there are degree courses with seemingly quite clear career attachments to them.

    With workforce statistics in recent years talking about how people no longer stick to one career, is this a sensible move for the higher education sector?

    Is this something we'll continue to see more of?

    Is it a good thing for the Labour market?



    Some examples for the general things I'm talking about...*

    BSc (Hons) Secondary Mathematics Education with QTS

    Construction Project Management, BSc (Hons)

    BA (Hons)Entertainment Management

    *this is not me singling out these courses for any reason, I am not trying to attack them, or advertise them and I do not wish to debate these courses specifically but the general trend they are examples of.
    The first two examples you give have three important characteristics:-

    1 The careers value the degrees in question. No school is going to say "Oh no, we don't hire people with degrees in maths teaching." The classic example where this wasn't the case was the re-badging of a lot of poor general science degrees as forensic science with no tenable connection to the real occupation of forensic scientist. Is the same true for "entertainment management", I don't know. It is a small, sexy, hard to enter career like forensic science. The risks are there, but I don't know what the employability rate is.

    2 The size of the career is greater than the number of course places. Teaching and construction are big careers. There is a danger of bandwagon jumping for some careers. Golf management at Birmingham had the highest levels of employability of any course in the country when it started. There are now 8 providers of courses on golf management and a couple of others have dropped out. Do they all have 100% employment before the start of the 3rd year? I suspect not. There just aren't the worldwide number of jobs for British junior managers in golf.

    3 There is some longevity. They are careers that are unlikely to disappear any time soon. One suspects some of the smaller niches in computing might become like having a BSc in Betamax.
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    i think degrees should have a clear path into the sector want to work in. i dont think a graduate should graduate 50k 3/4 years invested to think what do i want to do now. what do i mean well the accountancy grad can slide into accountancy while the philosophy graduate is on his arse
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    (Original post by nulli tertius)
    The first two examples you give have three important characteristics:-

    1 The careers value the degrees in question. No school is going to say "Oh no, we don't hire people with degrees in maths teaching." The classic example where this wasn't the case was the re-badging of a lot of poor general science degrees as forensic science with no tenable connection to the real occupation of forensic scientist. Is the same true for "entertainment management", I don't know. It is a small, sexy, hard to enter career like forensic science. The risks are there, but I don't know what the employability rate is.

    2 The size of the career is greater than the number of course places. Teaching and construction are big careers. There is a danger of bandwagon jumping for some careers. Golf management at Birmingham had the highest levels of employability of any course in the country when it started. There are now 8 providers of courses on golf management and a couple of others have dropped out. Do they all have 100% employment before the start of the 3rd year? I suspect not. There just aren't the worldwide number of jobs for British junior managers in golf.

    3 There is some longevity. They are careers that are unlikely to disappear any time soon. One suspects some of the smaller niches in computing might become like having a BSc in Betamax.
    Entertainment management might make a lot more sense for someone who's been working in showbiz for a while and wants to climb the ladder than it does for 6th form leavers... But the uni offering it as a course is unlikely to go out of it's way to tell any 6th form leavers that.

    I'd guess there's a lot more supermarket managers than entertainment managers in the UK but I don't think anyone's launched a supermarket management degree, if you go for the supermarket gradscheme with an entertainment management degree they might be worried that you'll run away and join the circus after they've spent money training you.

    I'm also pretty sure real forensic science doesn't have much inherent sexiness... but of course it looked pretty sexy on TV when CSI came out.
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    I think it's good. It's more practical. I'm even more in favor of a system that would integrate degrees and actual work side-by-side, maybe even paid in layer years of university. Closer cooperation between universities and employers to achieve this. It would also raise other problems*.

    Various professional institutions already work on a basis like this... where you can gain 'professional accreditation' dependent partially on how many hours of job experience you have in the field. My university has adopted this to a small extent. There are final year projects involving actual real work with employers, researching something or other. If this could by any chance start earlier on, and perhaps be rewarded with cash incentives for doing good work that is of an industry standard... I'd be interested to see how that works out.

    Like you say though... the concern there might be a system that forces young people down a rigid career path too soon. So there would need to be some provisions in the system for those who might want to change. Else you will end up with an uptick in suicides in 2 decades.

    My main reason for wanting something like this, is that the ever growing body of knowledge people are expected to acquire throughout education... it's becoming very taxing. More and more people have degrees, more masters, more PhDs, more years at university. With these trends I'd expect that 2 or 3 decades from now we might even have people starting full-time employment at an average age of even 30 years. That is very late, and would require a lot of forward investment to get people to that stage of employability. I think the system would need to be re-thought to be more pragmatic and practical with it's teaching materials.
    ________________________________ _________

    Problems like monopolization of an industry, if universities only feel inclined to approach large employers instead of smaller start-up firms.
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    (Original post by Joinedup)

    I'd guess there's a lot more supermarket managers than entertainment managers in the UK but I don't think anyone's launched a supermarket management degree,
    O yes they have.

    https://www1.bournemouth.ac.uk/study...ail-management

    "many of our former students now working in world-renowned retailers."

    But before we have a laugh at Bournemouth's expense

    https://www.sbs.ox.ac.uk/faculty-research/oxirm
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    Can only be good, I think, but only as long as the 'normal' degrees don't get displaced as a result. There are various types of 'applied' philosophy courses but something like that would have damaged what I wanted to do, yknow. Offer both, keep standards, no issues (in principle).
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    (Original post by NonIndigenous)
    There are final year projects involving actual real work with employers, researching something or other. If this could by any chance start earlier on, and perhaps be rewarded with cash incentives for doing good work that is of an industry standard... I'd be interested to see how that works out.
    I wonder how this would sit with many of the bursary systems different universities offer.:hmmmm:
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    (Original post by 04MR17)
    I wonder how this would sit with many of the bursary systems different universities offer.:hmmmm:
    I don't know. It'd be a very new system. Lots of things to work out. I certainly don't think one person could sit down and draft a proposal alone for this.
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    In a word, no. Most graduate-level employers still do prefer to hire applicants with solid academic degrees and I can't see that changing.

    It seems to me that there are two types of vocational degree and one is much less valuable than the other. The 'good' kind of vocational degree is accredited by a professional body and has a clear career progression (e.g. project management, surveying, planning and real estate, agriculture, subjects allied to medicine etc), but there is a finite number of jobs in these industries so obviously not everyone can do one. Then there are the vocational in name only degrees (e.g. journalism, events management, media, fashion, marketing etc) which are not particularly useful for entering their respective professions.

    Unfortunately, universities are being incentivised by government (via the student loans system which allows unis to pocket the difference between the cost a course costs to run and the £9250 tuition fee) into offering ever more of these dud vocational courses. They sound glamorous and professional so obviously students flock to do them, they don't know any better because the government has also cut career guidance services such as Connexions in schools.
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    (Original post by Snufkin)
    In a word, no. Most graduate-level employers still do prefer to hire applicants with solid academic degrees and I can't see that changing.
    One leading 2017 survey of graduate recruitment refers to
    19,658 graduates recruited in 2016.

    However, official records refer to 414,000 graduates in the same period.

    The so-called graduate recruitment market is recruiting fewer than 5% of graduates.
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    (Original post by nulli tertius)
    One leading 2017 survey of graduate recruitment refers to
    19,658 graduates recruited in 2016.

    However, official records refer to 414,000 graduates in the same period.

    The so-called graduate recruitment market is recruiting fewer than 5% of graduates.
    Wasn't that graduates recruited by the Times Top 100 Graduate Employers rather than all graduate employers everywhere?

    How many of the 19,658 figure studied for vocational degrees, I wonder? Not many, I would suggest.
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    (Original post by Snufkin)
    In a word, no. Most graduate-level employers still do prefer to hire applicants with solid academic degrees and I can't see that changing.
    By "solid academic degree" do you mean the traditional university subjects?
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    (Original post by 04MR17)
    By "solid academic degree" do you mean the traditional university subjects?
    More or less, yeah.
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    (Original post by Snufkin)
    Wasn't that graduates recruited by the Times Top 100 Graduate Employers rather than all graduate employers everywhere?
    Yes, but that is the point I am making. these Times Top 100 or the Association of Graduate Recruiters appropriate to themselves the idea that they are representative of graduate employment when they employ only a tiny minority of graduates.


    How many of the 19,658 figure studied for vocational degrees, I wonder? Not many, I would suggest.
    Given the list of employers (and even parking the question of whether law is a vocational degree) I am not sure you are right there. But it doesn't matter if you are because it concerns such a small proportion of graduates.

    One might say the biggest force for social mobility in the country is the Russell Group arts degree because it ensures thousands of well advantaged students every year will be eclipsed by students with more economically relevant degrees from less fashionable universities. It is pretty frightening to look at RG employment prospects for many arts degree graduates compared with business studies graduates from the University of Nowhere.
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    Very interesting to see the UK being in the European minority of having less people with vocational training employed than general (outside of HE)....:beard:



    Source: http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php?title=Filemployment_rates_of_recent_gradua tes_(aged_20%E2%80%9334)_not_in_ education_and_training,_by_educa tional_attainment_level,_2016_(% 25)-F4.png
 
 
 
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