It was a funny thing to read, this morning, on CBC’s website:
(Stephen Harper) He says that means starting at the basic education level: “There’s a general feeling there are too many kids getting BAs and not enough welders.”
Measures aimed at promoting apprenticeships will feature prominently in the budget, he says.
Vocational education often has a certain stigma to it. “Well, he may not get into Cegep, but there’s always Voc Ed. Sorry.”
That just isn’t the case. Or it shouldn’t be the case. And it didn’t used to be this way. Over the last 30 years, the entire focus has been put on getting that Bachelor’s degree. “High school alone just won’t cut it.” But what comes after high school? Not everyone gets into Cegep. Not everyone *wants* to get into Cegep. And not everyone *should* get into Cegep, and especially so when there is a real need for tradespeople. And not to burst anyone’s bubble, but the kid graduating with a BA in computer science? Well, that kid working as an undersea welder out in the Maritimes is likely making 4-5 times as much money, with more time off and benefits.
Other countries have sophisticated systems to bring bright young people into trades and professions, but we’ve never really figured it out.
And why haven’t we? Well, I would ay that the first step is to remove the stigma from the work path in high schools. Understand that vocational education is not where you go if you can’t succeed in school. It’s a path that you may choose that leads to a great future, and all the success in the word. Graduates of Vocational Education, even if they have not managed to pass Sec 4 history and maybe missed a credit in French or English – well, they are our success stories as well, and the MELS needs to recognize that.