Analytic Quality Glossary


A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z Home


Citation reference: Harvey, L., 2004-21, Analytic Quality Glossary, Quality Research International,

This is a dynamic glossary and the author would welcome any e-mail suggestions for additions or amendments. Page updated 18 June, 2021 , © Lee Harvey 2004–2021.


Novel Recipes



Vocational education and training (VET)

core definition

Vocational education and training is any formal, post-compulsory education that develops knowledge, skills and attributes linked to particular forms of employment, although in some interpretations this would exclude professional education.

explanatory context

VET includes initial training and continuing professional development. It is closely linked to lifelong learning.

analytical review

The Australian National Training Authority (2004) describes VET as:

Vocational education and training (VET) provides skills and knowledge for work, enhances employability and assists learning throughout life. In Australia, its foundation was laid in the mid to late nineteenth century, when mechanics’ institutes, schools of mines and technical and working men’s colleges were established to develop the skills of Australia’s working population. For almost 100 years, training was largely for males working full time in traditional trade related industries. In today’s Australia, VET is offered not only in the public TAFE system, but also through private and community training providers and in secondary schools. It can link to university study options, and provides up to six levels of nationally recognised qualifications in most industries, including high growth, new economy industries.

The British Council (2011) said that the UNESCO Convention described vocational education and training as:

all forms and levels of the educational process involving, in addition to general knowledge, the study of technologies and related sciences, the acquisition of practical skills, know-how, attitudes and understanding relating to occupations in the various sectors of economic and social life.'.

The British Council (2011) adds that:

In the UK, vocational education and training includes commercial, technical and professional development as well as transferable personal skills. And in our system, nothing stays still for long. That's because the skills needed by the economy are constantly evolving in line with global trends and technological advances. So the system ensures we can be responsive to these needs within a quality framework which ensures that standards are kept consistently high.

West (1999) identified three types of VET:

The area of vocational education and training (VET) has a high profile within the EU. However, it is important to stress that there is no internationally accepted set of definitions of types of VET. Despite this lack of international consensus, three main types of VET can be distinguished (Descy and Westphalen, 1998): (a) initial vocational education and training (IVT); (b) continuing vocational education and training (CVT); (c) vocational education and training for the unemployed (UVT). IVT is provided for young people from the age of 15/16 years after compulsory school, but prior to entering work. It is generally provided in school-based or in combined school and work-based (apprenticeship) programmes. It is financed, in the main, through public funds and to a lesser extent by enterprises, on a compulsory or voluntary basis. If higher education is classified within the overall framework of IVT, 1 the individual also contributes to the funding. CVT is all kinds of education and training provided for adults in the labour market leading to personal, flexible and/or vocational competencies. It is not necessarily linked to work, but is part-time and not primarily related to leisure time interests. CVT is funded by the EU, by public authorities, by social partners, by enterprises and by individuals. Funding depends on the particular type of training, policies at a national and/or regional level, policies and practices of enterprises, and individuals’ desire and ability to pay.

UVT is training provided for persons who are a) without work, b) currently available for work and c) seeking work (ILO, 1990). It is funded primarily by governments and, to a lesser extent by the EU, depending on the country (through, for example, the European Social Fund). There may be funds from regions/enterprises but this will vary between Member States. Individuals will rarely be in a position to fund this type of training themselves. Table 1 shows the funding bodies for various types of training.

associated issues


related areas

See also


lifelong learning

continuing professional development


Australian National Training Authority (ANTA), 2004, VET — What is it?, Updated 22 September 2004, not available at this address, 4 Februry 2011.

British Council, 2011, What Do We Mean By Vocational Education& Training? available at accessed 23 January 2011, not available 29 January 2012.

Descy, P. Westphalen, S-A., 1998,  ‘Measuring the effectiveness of training’, Working paper, Cedefop.

ILO, 1990, Statistical Sources and Methods (Geneva, ILO).

West, A., 1999, Vocational education and training indicators project EU priorities and objectives related to VET, November (European Commission, European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop)).

copyright Lee Harvey 2004–2021

A NOVEL Who bombed a Birmingham mosque?


A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z Home