What is 'social capital' and how can vocational education and training help develop it?

29 Apr 2009

Recent research in the vocational education and training (VET) sector shows that students are gaining a range of benefits from their studies, beyond expected course outcomes.

Students are developing new networks, and gaining confidence and self esteem through the respect received from their teachers and classmates. For some students, these advantages help them to find work and interact more easily with those around them. The networks and trust developed by students can also be referred to as 'social capital'. While many students are gaining social capital outcomes incidentally, these outcomes can also be actively developed. This paper discusses the concept of social capital and examines the link between social capital and VET. The paper also outlines ways in which social capital can be developed through VET courses and partnerships. The research shows developing social capital can be particularly helpful for marginalised young people.

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