Preparation material

Discussion on the topic

The preparation booklet includes 9 texts that you can use as inspiration to explore the topic of winning and losing in English-speaking countries and complete your assignments. In what follows, we will give you some ideas for the discussion of the topic and we will outline each of the texts so that you can get an overview of the topic.

The discussion revolves around winning and losing in English-speaking countries. According to your preparation material, the meaning of winning or losing can have different interpretations. Sometimes, losing can turn into a success thanks to new opportunities or a change in expectations. Other times, winning might not be as rewarding as one thinks.

In English-speaking countries, society mostly values competition instead of cooperation. This is noticeable in most areas of life, including sports, education,  or politics. At the same time, English-speaking societies are also very diverse regarding cultural and social aspects.

A competitive culture has both advantages and disadvantages. Competition can motivate people, but it can also lead to conflicts. That is why one of the challenges in these societies is to find a balance between competition and cooperation.

Text 1: “How to apply for an apprenticeship”

Text 1 is an adapted version of the article “How to apply for an apprenticeship” by Andrew Fennel.

The author describes an apprenticeship as learning a trade while being paid. He argues that an apprenticeship offers important work experience, but that to get such a position, candidates should know how to promote themselves to potential employers. Fennel considers the key factors for getting an apprenticeship to be qualifications, skills, career ambitions, and experience.

The text also includes a picture with key words such as: vocational education, qualifications, tutorials, e-learning, career development, jobs, practical apprenticeship, employment, talents, vocation, etc.

Text 2: Vocational education's global gap

Text 2 is titled “Vocational education's global gap” and explores the issue of career and education choices in various countries. The text argues that while most people think vocational education is important, academic education still has a higher status in society.

However, there is an increasing need for vocational education because of youth unemployment and a lack of skilled workers in the job market in many countries. A 2015 report confirms this, as well as the fact that people tend to see vocational education as less valuable than academic education.

In India, the work force will increase by 32% in the next 20 years, leading to many young people needing jobs. However, only 2.3% of the workforce currently has a formal vocational education. This suggests that to maintain economic growth, India will have to invest more in vocational education. This is challenging because many parents are university-focused when it comes to their children’s education.

In South Africa, the unemployment rate among young people is 54%, while businesses complain about the shortage of skilled workers. The authorities plan to create 2.5 million spots in vocational colleges over the next 20 years. However, the report argues that there is a mismatch between the skills people are trained in and...

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