Vocational training services is a general term that refers to any type of education or training designed to assist in an individual's eventual employment in a specific career. The types of training considered vocational training services are numerous and diverse. Among the options, training services may be military or civilian, public or private, optional or required, national or regional in origin, or designed for teens or adults — or any combination thereof. Individuals may begin the process as middle-school students, after high-school graduation or as adults following a work-related injury that precludes them returning to their former occupations or a company-wide closure. Vocational training services include options such as sheltered workshops, vocational education, on-the-job training (OJT) and apprenticeship programs.
Most likely, vocational education is an individual's first exposure to vocational training services. In the US, this program allows public middle and high-school students to earn a high school diploma and complete initial training in a given occupation. Fields of occupational study vary by school district, but usually include classroom work and practice in a simulated environment to become a certified nursing assistant, licensed vocational nurse, automobile mechanic, automobile body repair person, electrician or small engine repair person. After the student has completed initial study, they also receive supervised on-the-job training and wages with employers affiliated with a given school's training program. This option works to meet the needs of students less interested in attending college and more interested in joining the workforce as soon as possible.
Vocational training services also include on-the-job training. OJT is offered by some private employers and the time and assistance a new employee is provided varies markedly. In theory, OJT includes shadowing, or following, an employee who is performing the job for which the new employee was hired. Explanations of procedures and directions for equipment operation are provided as the duty arises in the course of job performance. OJT of this type should also include time spent working under the close supervision of a mentor who is available to step in and assist the new employee as needed.
Apprenticeships are a well-known and popular type of vocational training services although available positions are very limited. This type of program combines classroom instruction and paid on-the-job training and can take from one to six years to complete, depending upon the occupation sought. Apprenticeship programs are usually in the building or skilled manufacturing trades, although other programs such as paralegal, landscape and computer training exist. Many of the core classes can often be completed at local community colleges as a prospective apprentice awaits an available position.