What am I dealing with here? When I say “vocational” I am referring to those degrees such as accountancy, engineering or law which directly connect into a chosen vocation. When I am using the word “non-vocational” I am referring to those degrees such as in history, geography or english which are non-vocational because they have no direct connection with any vocation.
When someone is studying a non-vocational degree most people immediately start pondering upon what career it might directly lead to. The conclusion of many is that the opportunities are very limited. A history degree, for example, is only considered useful for someone who wants to go into teaching history or to become a museum curator. I understand what people are doing in this reasoning, but the whole premise is wrong because they are presuming that every degree should have a vocational element.
I would assert, unequivocally that there is value in a non-vocational degree. I do this without engaging in any “reasoning gymnastics” of trying to justify its value by making a vocational connection. A non-vocational degree has value in its own right. My reasons are:
- Your mind is trained. The ability to sift information and coherently, to express it verbally or (as is more often the case) in writing is a priceless skill. So many jobs and so much of life require such skills. For anyone to have them is very valuable. Generally, this sifting of information with a view to an orderly expressing of it verbally or in writing is at the heart of a non-vocational degree.
- It leads to an expansion of knowledge base before specializing in a certain sphere for your career.
- In my experience, in surveying, it was those with a non-vocational degree who were able to think better through the problems that the job presented you with. So for those with an Estate Management degree or other training that directly is linked to surveying there was more of an inclination to approach issues with a restricted way of thinking. Whereas those who had trained as surveyors subsequent to their (non-vocational) degree course had a capacity to think more widely about an issue.
I would always therefore assert the value of doing a non-vocational degree. It has many benefits for working life and beyond.