VET Pathways – Key Considerations

Vocational Education and Training (VET) includes traineeships, apprenticeships and TAFE study.

4 out of 5 parents report that they would prefer their child to university than study VET, but it is crucial that both parents and students take the time to understand the VET sector, and that a preference for just university study may in some cases limit a young persons potential.

Between 20 – 30% of young people in Australia dropout of or change their university course within the first year. Many young people don’t even consider studying a TAFE course due to incorrect perceptions or through lack of understanding of the sector.

It’s no secret that employers love job applicants who have TAFE qualifications, including those who graduate from a university degree with a VET qualification.

VET graduates are considered to have ‘job ready’ skills and in the future labour market in Australia with 1 in every 2 young people expected to complete a Bachelor degree, it is more important than ever to have diverse skills, industry experience and more than one qualification (e.g., a Bachelor of Engineering with a TAFE Diploma in Project Management).

Did you know that 9/10 occupations predicted to have the most jobs growth by 2022 are in vocational training areas and in the industries with the most growth (e.g., health and community services, construction, and accommodation and food services). Department of Jobs and Small Business (2018) Employment Projects. Labour Market Information Portal.

Specific occupations with the biggest growth prediction include sales assistants, aged care workers, disability workers, enrolled nurses, electricians, chefs, and early childhood education workers etc.

Current skills shortages are in occupations such as automotive trades, food trades, construction trades, and building professionals.

A report, titled: ‘Perceptions Are Not Reality: myths, realities & the critical role of vocational education & training in Australia’, was released by Skilling Australia Foundation this year.

It revealed the following:

  • VET graduates earn wages comparable to, if not exceeding, that of university graduates.

  • VET graduates have a higher employment rate than university undergraduates. More than 78% of VET graduates are employed after training.

  • VET courses have adapted more readily to changing workforce needs.

There are some occupations that require a university degree (e.g., medicine, social work, law).

It is advisable that students consider undertaking VET study during their gap year (e.g., gap year traineeship or TAFE course) and concurrently with their university studies (if time permits).

Other benefits of TAFE courses

  • Higher level courses (e.g., Diploma) can provide a direct pathway into university courses with credit.
  • Can give you the opportunity to trial an industry or career area before you commit to university study.
  • Can give you a qualification you can use to gain part time work whilst undertaking university study.

Did you know you can study a huge range of vocational courses at TAFE? TAFE provides students with the opportunity to:

  • Undertake applied learning.
  • Gain ‘industry ready’ experience.
  • Learn about industries and careers.
  • Obtain a qualification in a relatively short time frame.

The following are example courses you could consider

Jane knows she loves working with people, has excellent written and verbal communication skills, is creative, loves thinking outside the box, is highly organised and enjoys solving problems. She explores the following TAFE courses:

  • Public Relations
  • Marketing
  • Advertising
  • Professional Writing and Editing
  • Broadcast Journalism
  • Liberal Arts
  • Library and Information Services

Sheridan loves sciences and health and is considering working in rehabilitation, medical sciences or allied health in the future. She explores the following courses:

  • Dental Technology
  • Nursing
  • Massage and Myotherapy
  • Allied Health Assistance
  • Laboratory Technology
  • Pathology Collection

Paul knows he loves helping people and that he would like to work in counselling, case management, or human services in the future. He explores the following courses:

  • Community Services
  • Youth Work
  • Disability Services
  • Mental Health
  • Alcohol and other Drugs
  • Aged Care

Patrick enjoys legal studies and business, and has excellent research and written/verbal communication skills. He explores the following courses:

  • Justice
  • Legal Practice
  • Accounting
  • Business Administration
  • Marketing
  • Banking Services
  • Real Estate
  • Human Resources
  • Financial Planning

To search for TAFE courses, use the following websites:

It’s important to note that many courses have optional or compulsory information sessions that run between now and the end of the year. You will need to ensure that you attend these sessions and also fulfill any portfolio or selection task requirements.

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