In Spain, the university has traditionally opted for the only route for post-compulsory studies, an option that seemed almost incompatible with other academic itineraries until recently. However, in recent years, this situation has been changing progressively thanks to the prestige acquired by Vocational Training, derived from the efforts of its teachers, the success of its students and the open-mindedness of political leaders. So much so, that today the possibility of studying first a vocational training cycle and then a university degree is accepted as normal, or vice versa.
To promote this training branch, the Ministry of Education has outlined a new Law on Professional Training, which already has the recent approval of the Council of Ministers. The objective, as indicated by ministerial sources, is to bring it closer to the company and for students to have it as a reference, as is the case in the rest of Europe. But, apart from this new impulse, the truth is that the FP already presents impressive numbers at present, “with a very high degree of employability”, since it is around “90%”, they assure from Education.
The employer is also clear about its potential: according to a report published by Edix, the Institute of Digital Experts of UNIR (International University of La Rioja), “More than 80% of entrepreneurs in all sectors and sizes of SMEs affirm that it is a good option for the professions of the future”. An example of this is Héctor Paz, CEO and co-founder of Imascono, an Aragonese technology-based firm. From his point of view, “VET students have specific knowledge and a very close perspective to the market; they know the processes and software that companies use today ”. This young entrepreneur, who is also a university professor, confirms the compatibility that exists between both types of training: “VET and university have a place in the same student and they do not have to be mutually exclusive”.
In this direction, another sociological study also prepared by Edix states that “VET would be the option chosen by more than 90% of those surveyed and it is proposed as a complementary option to other training, as well as a tool for reinventing work.” Such is the case of Cristian Fernández, an online student from UNIR’s own Institute of Digital Experts, who admits that he began studying during the toughest months of the pandemic to recycle. “I came from the real estate sector and the commercial environment and, after completing the first year of the Senior Technician in Multiplatform Application Development (DAM) cycle, I am already working in the technological environment,” he confirms.
Cristian agrees that FP offers “fast and good job opportunities” and details that, in the computer-digital sector, “on LinkedIn and InfoJobs there are so many offers that companies are looking for you, not you for them.” “I think it is a safe bet, both for professionals who want to reinvent themselves, and for young people who do not know what to study, even more so in these times in which digitization will continue to grow,” he stresses.
Technological cycles: a mine of employment
VET itineraries are grouped into families and one of them, specifically the one related to digitization, is currently the training most required by companies. So urgent is the need of companies that, according to the Telefónica Employment map, profiles as web and multimedia developer are among the three most required in Spain, with 8,000 job offers in the last three months. In the same way, in InfoJobs this profile is booming, to the point of multiplying its recent demand by 17.
Faced with such a notorious increase in the search for these profiles, the Technological Vocational Training centers have begun to specialize their students more. “As regards official cycles, there are three concrete ones at the top: Multiplatform Applications Developer (DAM), Web Applications Developer (DAW) and Network Information Systems Administration (ASIR)”, highlights Ascensión Blázquez, director of the Edix Technological Institute. “Given that the greatest demand is related to digital skills,” he continues, “we have begun to offer unique degrees within our study plan that are recognized by a university diploma endorsed by UNIR, it is MEAN Stack in the case of DAW and DevOps in the case of DAM ”.
Likewise, Ascensión Blázquez specifies that students can specialize through other options, such as the so-called Master FP, “courses aimed at graduates as intense as university postgraduates, but shorter in time.” The director of Edix points out that her center offers this type of training, in this case focused on cybersecurity, artificial intelligence and big data.
Blázquez recognizes that the average age of the students in the 100% online cycles offered by Edix is around 31 years because “it is an excellent option, not only for young people who have just finished high school, but also for professionals who need a job recycling “. In the same vein, he assures that “the great advantage of VET” is that “it is oriented to what companies need” and this “guarantees employability”. “In this sense, our degrees have reached rates of 85% of students working, once they have completed the internship,” he concludes.