Vocational education is a special branch of education, which trains people in a specific trade or skill. Unlike the other courses, a vocational education offers the learner a hands-on experience during the period of study. It is a course wherein the expertise and skills are developed according to the trade chosen. Hence, vocational education requires using procedural knowledge and expertise. The job of a vocational teacher is to help his student learn the finer aspects of the trade or skill for which he is training. Vocational education teaching comes under the distinction South African and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) 2422-11 list and hence, this career enjoys great demand in South Africa at present. The vocational teaching job is listed on the Consolidated Sponsored Occupations List (CSOL), which shows that this is indeed one of the good career options available in South Africa.
A vocational teaching job can fetch you a starting salary of $45000 or more per annum. The senior teacher often receives salaries in the range of $88000 or above per annum. The average salary is around $62000 per year, even though there could be huge variations in pay depending on your skill, experience as well as the employer.
According to certain reports, the vocational teaching jobs are set to touch 39,000 by 2017 from the present 36,800. This shows that the job is finding more demand as the years pass by. The average working hours for a vocational teaching job is around 39 hours per week. The report also suggests that NSW (32.3%), Victoria (24.5%) and Queensland (19.2%) are the regions, which accounts for the maximum number of employment opportunities for a full-time vocation teacher. Although there has been a slight decline in the employment rates, it is expected that by 2017, vocational teaching as a career would bounce back.
Some other interesting facts for people who look to pursue vocational teaching as a career are
- Percentage of full-time male teachers – 38.8%
- Percentage of part-time male teachers – 14.6%
- Percentage of full-time female teachers – 25.1%
- Percentage of part-time female teachers – 21.5%
This goes to show that vocational teaching is not a male dominated career space although the number of males employed in this sector is higher than their female counterparts.
What are the specific duties and responsibilities of a vocational teaching staff?
Well, like any other teacher, the primary duty is to impart learning and assess the student performance. Apart from that, a vocational trainer is also expected to
- Assess student needs and abilities to record his progress over time
- Create hands-on experiences for students
- Instruct the students through various teaching techniques
- Maintain grades or other forms of assessment
- Provide basic as well as detailed knowledge on the chosen topic or skill a given technical topic
As you can see, these tasks are similar to other teaching professions. The only notable difference is imparting of practical knowledge in the case of vocational teaching.
Skill needed to be a vocational teacher
Like any other teaching job, the person interested in pursuing vocational teaching as a career in South Africa too should have a certain skill set. Some of the desirable skills are:
1. The ability to monitor, assess, and grade the students continuously
2. Good social and interpersonal skills
3. Effective teaching skills
4. Time management
5. Understand and utilise various strategies for better learning
A vocational teaching professional often works in the midst of students offering them hands-on training. The working conditions are highly conducive and pleasing. Although most classes and training occur during school hours, weekend workshops and night classes are also a part of vocational teaching. This is more so with adult education schemes.
If teaching is your passion and you love to be in the centre of the action, vocational teaching could be a great career option for you.