Delighted about the Year of Vocational Education in Norway
‘Vocational education will be highlighted and celebrated throughout 2018.’ Head of Department Siv Andersen of the Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Education (SIU) could not be more delighted. The goal is to get even more young people in Norway to choose a vocational education.
The Ministry of Education and Research has designated 2018 as the Year of Vocational Education in Norway. Norway will need more skilled workers in the years to come, and the 2018 Year of Vocational Education will highlight the possibilities available and increase interest in vocational education.
A door opener to undreamed-of possibilities
‘The fantastic thing about vocational education is that you can create something with your hands. I think that’s pretty unique,’ Siv Andersen says enthusiastically.
‘When you have an academic education, your knowledge is up here,’ she says pointing to her forehead, ‘but with a vocational education behind you, your knowledge is in your hands as well as your head.’
Andersen, who currently works on exchanges and international cooperation, knows what she is talking about. She has a vocational education herself.
‘Yes, I took a journeyman’s certificate as a hairdresser in 1986. Back then, hairstyles were both big and high, and the coolest trends came from London,' she says. Her vocational education was the start of an educational pathway and a career for Andersen.
‘The journeyman’s certificate was a game changer! It has helped make me who I am and given me a platform that I have continued to develop,’ she says, referring to both her teacher training qualification and the master’s degree she has started in management.
Andersen points out that it is possible to build on all types of education. She finds that many young people are unsure about what they want to do after they have completed lower secondary school. 'Many of the young people we speak to think that the choice you make as a 16-year-old is what you will go on to do for the rest of your life – but that’s not how it is anymore. Most of us do different things in the course of our lives and a vocational education is a door-opener.'
Education in the world
In 2018, the Norwegian government has allocated NOK 70 million to the recruitment of apprenticeships. If more people are going to be encouraged to take a vocational education, then more people must gain experience of the labour market as apprentices. And, if it was up to Andersen, as many apprentices as possible would spend parts of their apprenticeship abroad to gain an advantage in an increasingly international labour market.
‘I went to Copenhagen and to London to learn about the latest hairdressing trends. And now it’s more important than ever to go out in the world – to learn languages, experience other cultures and develop at a personal level. That’s my advice to young people today!'
Facts: 2018 Year of Vocational Education in Norway
• A campaign online and in social media
• Increase young people’s interest in vocational education
• Increase the number of apprenticeship enterprises and apprenticeships
• Open to everyone who wants to help to improve the reputation of vocational education