Creating and maintaining an effective system of vocational education is a major challenge for any country. In Britain, vocational education faces the extra challenge of having to fight against a prejudice that deems many occupations to be 'unskilled' or 'low-skilled'. These disabling and dehumanising labels reek of ignorance about the skills and knowledge required for these jobs, and they underpin the view that only so-called knowledge jobs or professions require any substantive formative or continuing education and training. Britain still boasts some of the best and most innovative vocational education in the world, despite attempts by successive governments to emasculate it. Vocational education speaks to the creative potential within all human beings, to their sensuality, and to their need to take pride in work and everyday tasks. Done well, it will act as a catalyst for introducing the learner to a range of subjects that might not appear immediately relevant: from aesthetics to science, from social history to climate change and sustainable living. This lecture asks Britain to embrace vocational education and to celebrate its importance for all individuals and occupations, and for the furtherance of a civilised and humane society.
Sensuality, sustainability and social justice
Institute of Education Press
Vocational education in changing times