FREE COURSE: TAFE is offering late stage apprentices and early trades people the chance to upskill for free from now until December. HVIA
Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia (HVIA) is one of four peak automotive industry bodies that have partnered to offer the Automotive Industry Ambassador Program for late stage apprentices and early trades people.
The free short course will provide leadership and communication skills to attendees.
The five-part workshop will commence on Wednesday, October 9 and will continue every second Wednesday until December.
The program will be delivered by TAFE Queensland SkillsTech to late stage apprentices and early trades people employed by member companies of the Heavy Vehicle Industry Association, The Construction & Mining Equipment Industry Group, MTA Queensland and the Institute of Automotive Mechanical Engineers.
Seats are limited to a maximum of two late stage apprentices/early tradespeople per member company.
Nominations must be received by TAFE Queensland SkillsTech by Friday, October 4. You can download the nomination form here.
The five-day program promises to provide apprentices with the skills to:
Communicate effectively with clients and colleagues
Manage small teams
Implement more efficient and effective workplace processes
The units of competency are:
BSBLDR403 – Lead team effectiveness
BSBLDR402 – Lead effective workplace relationships
BSBSMGT402 – Implement operational plan
BSBLDR401 – Communicate effectively as a workplace leader
My dad was a brickie. His dad was in the building game. As far as the eye can see in our family tree, on my dad’s side, are brickies, chippies, gyprockers, a sparkie or two, labourers, mechanics and builders. All blokes, of course. We’re talking about history here.
My three brothers are tradies, or once were tradies. Two of my three sons went through vocational training. My middle son went to TAFE when training to be a chef, and went again a decade later when he made the switch to become a carpenter.
My youngest son was a mechanic for a few years before doing a teaching degree and working with challenging teens.
My eldest son owns a cafe and employs apprentices working their way through TAFE.
I went to TAFE years ago to learn typing and shorthand as a cadet journalist. I went again with two of my sisters some time later for a semester of learning how to do basic sewing. Why I did that is lost in the mists of time. I’m rubbish at anything crafty. Possibly, I was there because I was the only one with a driver’s licence.
All I can remember is sitting in the back of the class where everyone else seemed proficient, and being banned from using sewing machines by myself because my threading skills were crap and I snapped way too many needles.
The other thing I remember clearly from that time is the first name of the woman who tried to teach us how to sew, and the pained expression and little sigh she gave every time I put my hand up for help. That’s not a complaint, by the way. I would have had a pained expression if I’d been trying to teach me.
Anyway, the TAFE colleges where I live – or “tech” colleges as I think of them, which gives the game away about how old I am – have always been significant institutions, because so many people around here attended them.
I live in a neighbourhood of tradies of a certain vintage. It’s close to the beach and we’re all on our seventh, eighth or tenth houses after buying land young years ago when there was land available that was reasonable to buy, and building and selling, building and selling until we own the ones we’re in. The great Australian dream.
The ratio of utes to homes around here is very high. And not just the pretty pretend utes whose owners spend too much of their weekends buffing and polishing them to a dazzling sheen, and bark orders to their kids about dirty shoes and sticky fingers.
No. I’m talking about proper utes, where a few bangs and dings from wheelbarrows, ladders and tools of trade thrown in the tray after a hard day on the job are a badge of honour. Those utes drive around here with a fine layer of dust and a bit of mud on the wheels. Their blokey owners give a smile and a nod and a fingers-up wave while their hands remain on the wheel, as a way of acknowledging they know you’re a local.
They sling boards on the back when the surf’s up. In summer salt-crusted towels join the crap in the tray or the crap around a passenger’s feet.
Every so often these real-ute tradie owners will hose their utes down but the interiors remain true tradie – dust on the dash, food wrappers and empty drink containers on the floor, pens and bits of paper here and there, sometimes ciggies, and a glovebox that could contain anything, from sticking plaster to measuring tape, car records to ticket stubs from a 1989 AC/DC concert, or tax documents that should have been lodged three years ago.
Being a tradie where I live means having control of your life, running your own race, having the ability to work hard and reap the profits of that. It also means being able to be flexible with your work hours and time – like when the surf’s up or a new baby is born.
For the past few months the federal and NSW governments, among others, have been talking up vocational training. The Business Council of Australia has been talking up vocational training. Everyone’s been talking up vocational training because we have, according to them, a skills shortage, and industries crying out for skilled workers.
But the way these spruikers of vocational training have been doing it is insulting to anyone with half a brain who’s watched, despairing, as governments of all stripes, over years, have trashed that education sector, or where the sector itself has kicked own goals.
“We have to address the cultural and financial bias that treats VET (vocational education training) like a second class citizen,” said Business Council of Australia chief executive Jennifer Westacott (a high school classmate of mine).
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian weighed in with: “We want universities and VET to be thought of in the same sentence for workers looking to prepare themselves for the high value jobs of the future.”
This week NSW Minister for Skills and Tertiary Education, Dr Geoff Lee, a former TAFE teacher and university lecturer, repeated the “cultural bias” refrain, saying there was a “cultural bias towards university”, as if the problem with falling TAFE enrolments is an attitudinal thing alone, and we, the people, are snobs.
How about we frame it this way.
The public lost confidence in the vocational sector when governments supported the introduction of private colleges for “competition”, when that led to extraordinary rorting of the system and students, and when “diplomas” and “certificates” were thrown around like confetti but didn’t lead to jobs or careers.
How about some honesty about NSW TAFE “reforms” resulting in wholesale closure of regional TAFE colleges, the collapse of courses on offer, the sacking of staff and a dramatic jump in course costs for students, many of whom once saw TAFE as a way to get ahead, often after difficult childhoods where their schooling took a battering?
And what about the $600 million NSW TAFE IT system debacle that left thousands of students – my son included – unable to get final results that were needed before they could start work as licensed tradies.
The “cultural bias” towards university, or against TAFE, didn’t exist in my neck of the woods before vocational training was disrespected and plundered, internally and externally, over a long period. The TAFE college in Gosford, where I grew up, was on the hill as a prominent and respected local institution.
If vocational training is going to offer a great pathway again for young people into well-paying tradie careers – and particularly young people who deserve a break – how about our leaders be honest about who actually showed the bias that caused the mess.
The Coalition Government’s policies have starved TAFE in favour of private-sector VET training, effectively making it an educational option only for the rich., writes Leisa Woodman.
Affordable, practical education through Technical and Further Education (TAFE) is part of the Australian consciousness in a way that many may not even realise.
Quality materials and competent workmanship have long been taken for granted in our society, and Australians have for generations been creatively stimulated by the secure knowledge that their educational journey is never over.
Even if one had been coerced into an unsuitable degree, or dropped out of high school, there was still a way back into learning through TAFE.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has mysteriously declared he wants to “raise the status” of TAFE courses in Australia, saying they are “as good as uni”. He has revealed that “reform” of the vocational education sector would be at the forefront of the agenda at the Council of Australian Governments meeting in Cairns. Australians should rightly demand of the Prime Minister, whether this plan for reform is going to address how TAFE has morphed in recent years into what one teacher termed, “education for the rich”.
GoogleVET:PM declares ‘TAFE is as good as uni’ as vocational training placed on COAG agenda – The New Daily https://ift.tt/2YRGOaj
The full fees payable for many diplomas are now comparable to university fees. While each student is allowed two chances at accessing government-subsidised study before having to pay the full fees, even these subsidised courses cost many thousands of dollars. Fees are payable upfront in the case of certificates, that don’t allow deferred Vocational Educational and Training (VET) loans. What working-class person has thousands sitting around handy? According to the TAFE educator, students manage to pay these fees if “they have benefactors”.
TAFE proudly advertises that students can access fees by instalment, but when a student enquires about this scheme, they are informed they must allow for $80 to $90 left in their bank after repaying their fortnightly fee contribution, which could be $70 dollars or more. A simple calculation reveals this is impossible if living out of home, on any government payment.
To make matters worse, many TAFE diplomas now have prerequisites for entry — meaning a student may exhaust their two subsidised courses by the time they get to the course they really want to do.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison may have declared that ‘TAFE is as good as university’, but Australia is a long way from having policies that support […]grattan.edu.au.
Fees also differ wildly from one state to the next. A Diploma of Building and Construction costs $37,168 at TAFE South Australia, but under Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews’ progressive TAFE policy, is free to the unemployed in Victoria. One can imagine the few remaining prospective students not excluded by the cost being perturbed by the instability and so, it seems, student numbers are down across campuses.
There is a chance for the Federal Government to address a real problem. Many employers in technical fields, such as pathology, are now asking for university degrees for no reason other than that so many have them. The result of people choosing universities, who probably should have attended TAFE institutions, is that degrees have lost their value in the labour market. Some entry positions now, in reality, favour a master’s degree, which, mostly uncovered by Austudy, is also only accessible to the rich.
To attract students back to TAFE, employers must begin to see education as a set of suitable skills, rather than a spending competition. However, this is an ethos directly in competition with the goals of our present Coalition Government.
It has long been the policy of the Coalition to effectively “starve” TAFE in favour of the private sector of VET training, ripping out $3 billion in funding in the past six years. One suspects that Morrison’s plan to raise the status of TAFE will simply be a language project designed to justify the now prohibitive costs at disastrously underfunded campuses.
TAFE cannot be revitalised with words. Only a sustained injection of funds to TAFE can end predatory Registered Training Organisations and restore technical education to its rightful place in assisting Australians from all backgrounds to gain, diversify and upgrade their skills easily throughout their lives.
Scott Morrison was asked what he thought of a role playing exercise as part of the Respecting Relationships program, he said that's why he sends his kids to private school. Has the new PM just revealed he doesn't value public education? @LiciaHeath thinks so. #TheDrum#auspolpic.twitter.com/XYqubhrSEr
The earning capacity of many young Australians would be significantly higher if they learned a trade instead of going to university, a new report has found.
The Grattan Institute looks at the earning capacity of university students and those young people who learn a trade
It finds for some people, particularly young men with lower ATAR scores, vocational occupations result in higher earnings
The report comes as the vocational education industry is reporting a 43 per cent drop in trade-based enrolments
One commentator says the idea that university is the only option often comes from parents
The Grattan Institute report found that for men, particularly those who scored lower ATARs at school, vocational qualifications in engineering, construction and commerce resulted in higher average earnings than a degree qualification.
The number of students enrolling in university has swelled by more than one-third over the past decade, with more students with lower ATARs and those from diverse backgrounds now attending.
That increase has come at the expense of vocational education, with the number of students taking up a place in those trades-based courses down 43 per cent in the past five years.
The Federal Government made the issue a key focus of COAG talks last week amid concerns about critical skills shortages. It has also commissioned a review of post-secondary school pathways.
Grattan’s higher education program director Andrew Norton said some university graduates were struggling to get jobs, especially if they studied generalist degrees in humanities and science.
This was particularly the case for students with lower ATARs.
“This report is looking at the concern that some low ATAR students, who have been increasing in numbers at university, would have been better off in vocational education,” Mr Norton said.
“The report finds that is true in some cases, particularly for young men.
“We find that there is a high risk that they won’t get the financial benefits of higher education that higher ATAR students would get, and that they would do well in a range of vocational occupations such as engineering and trades related [to] construction and some commerce type degrees.”
But Mr Norton said the picture was different for women.
“By contrast, lower ATAR women who go into nursing and teaching degrees have pretty good employment outcomes, very high rates of professional employment, and we think they’ll end up earning a lot more than the women who go into vocational education,” he said.
Students growing up with university as only option
Nineteen-year-old Liam Mills enrolled in a university degree earlier this year but left in favour of a TAFE course. He’s now studying web development at Hornsby TAFE in northern Sydney.
“I prefer a much more hands-on approach, so sitting in a lecture wasn’t really doing it for me,” he said.
“I much prefer being behind the computer.”
Mr Mills said he had grown up with the idea that going to university was the only option.
“My choice to go to university was mainly based on what a lot of my friends were doing at the time,” he said.
“It was kind of the plan I’d always had basically from starting high school, [but] by the time I got there I realised it wasn’t exactly what I wanted.”
Many parents still believe university is the ‘right route’
The decline in those taking up vocational training comes despite national skills shortages in many of the trades that are predicted to soon become more critical.
It is estimated Australia will need up to a million workers with vocational qualifications by 2023.
The decline in vocational students will be a focus of National Skills Week later this month.
The event’s founder Brian Wexham said he believed change needed to come from parents.
“We’re faced with this challenge that many, many parents still believe that the right route for their child is to go to university and they will get a more fulfilling and better career, and for some that is true, but of course it’s not true for everyone,” he said.
“A lot of students are practical learners, they’re not academically inclined.
“And frankly I think universities have got a lot to answer for, because they encourage people to go there even if it might not be suitable for them.
“It’s been widely reported that some universities have accepted ATARs of 50, and frankly all they’re doing is enrolling somebody who’s probably destined to fail, and all they end up doing is having a HECS bill, but if you’re an apprentice you get paid to learn.”
Universities have defended their graduates’ employment outcomes in the light of the Grattan report.
Universities Australia chief Catriona Jackson said a low ATAR can be a sign of disruption during a student’s Year 12 studies, or which postcode they came from.
“It doesn’t predict the destiny of every student, and the vast majority of students who enter university go on to successfully complete their studies,” she said.
On graduate jobs and salaries, she said: “University graduates earn up to $1 million more over their lifetimes on average and are 2.5 times less likely to be unemployed than those without a higher qualification.
“Nine in 10 university graduates are in full-time work three years after graduation, and four out of five undergraduates work in professional or managerial roles.
“And the median salary of university graduates three years on from finishing their studies is $70,000.”
Improving the nation’s vocational system is at the top of the agenda at the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting in Far North Queensland. The nation’s leaders were met by a group of protestors on Friday as they came together for the first time since the federal election in May. The leaders are expected to consider the recommendations of a recent review that identified a spate of challenges in the education and training sector. The Australian Industry group called for reforms to ensure there were enough skilled Australians to support the government’s $100 billion infrastructure pipeline. The group also raised concerns about a growing skills shortage and a struggling training system. Image: News Corp Australia
The Yin and Yang of international VET – comment by CEO Craig Robertson
New federal skills minister outlines his VET reform plans
Backbench coalition MP unloads on ASQA
Search commences for new skills commission chief
ASQA invites input to annual training provider survey
TAFE Queensland reviewer, Michael Roche, dies suddenly
The Yin and Yang of international VET – comment by CEO Craig Robertson
ASQA released a very important report this past week, but it seems other matters were occupying the mind of Ministers.
The strategic review of international education in VET and its recommendations may appear unremarkable but data from the report itself and elsewhere suggests it is critical and must be handled urgently. We are still waiting for ministers to respond to ASQA’s recommendations to abate unduly short courses following consultations in early 2018, so my hope could be misplaced.
When we think of international education we are drawn to headline figures – Australia’s third largest export and over $34bn in revenue.
But it’s also full of hyperbole, sophistry and danger.
As new minister, Dan Tehan in October last year in his first speech on international education claimed mutual trade benefit with the countries from which our international students flowed, only to then spend the rest of the speech crowing the benefits to Australia.
Treasurer Frydenberg’s promises of surpluses built off the back of robust economic activity rely largely on continued growth in international students and other temporary entrants. While capping permanent migration to argue congestion busting, targets for international students were increased. Apparently they mustn’t congest.
In figures released coincidentally this past week, the ongoing growth in international enrolments is spectacular, including for VET.
International Student Enrolments by Sector Source: Department of Education
At a time when the VET sector is chasing stability and balance across most aspects of its operation – the figures appear encouraging but hide some imbalances. Balance and harmony – a recognition of the Yin and Yang of things – are hard to find when it comes to international VET.
For VET student growth, the Yin of international student enrolments growing at around 15 per cent per annum over the past three years far from balances with the Yang of domestic enrolments, which continue to decline.
When it comes to VET providers, the Yin is represented by 94 per cent of students at private vocational colleges while the Yang has just 6 per cent of students enrolled in TAFEs.
For Yin, over 70 per cent of students prefer business and general training, when Yang expects enrolments across the broad portfolio of VET courses. Yin also struggles to have students meet their minimum 20-hour per week attendance requirements.
When it comes to its older cousin, the tables are turned. The publicly inclined Yang has the far greater proportion of enrolments, unhealthily so. Oddly enough, most are in general studies similar to the Yin of its younger cousin.
For the little cousin, over two-thirds of enrolments are sourced from temporary entrants already in in Australia. For the older cousin most international students come to Australia intent on studying. Is the Yin of the younger cousin simply a convenient way to stay and work in Australia?
Confusing? Maybe. One thing that is clear though is the Yin and Yang are out of kilter.
For the younger cousin, it’s eerily similar to the situation in 2009. For those new to international education this was the time that favourable residency conditions created a boom in private colleges offering commercial cookery and hairdresser training, only to come tumbling down when student exploitation was exposed coinciding with the tragic death of several students.
International education should be more than a quick source of cash. It’s a path for diplomatic relations and economic collaboration. I must say, though, that every time we at TDA are consulted from the Council for International Education the conversation ultimately, and too quick for comfort, turns to benefit for Australia.
The task for TAFEs and TDA is to demonstrate the benefits of international education for students, institutions, the countries to which they will return, fuelled by deep friendships stretching across the globe. TDA operates a network of TAFE leaders engaged in these matters and seeks to demonstrate the power of TAFEs working together. This theme is being explored in the TDA convention in September in Brisbane, not only on International Education but other important matters for TAFE, such as teaching and learning, regulation and quality and higher education.
ASQA, in a measured way, is suggesting action now to avoid 2009 which entrenched views in other countries that we are often no better than education mercenaries. Other commentary pointing to dissatisfaction with the actions of ASQA in upholding the integrity of the sector shouldn’t distract from responding to this report, otherwise the whole sector sinks one step lower in its global standing.
Dan Tehan and Michaelia Cash may be the power team of tertiary education here in Australia but when it comes to the administrative orders the buck stops with Tehan on International education. Tehan carries ultimate accountability but Cash is responsible for oversight of ASQA and the carriage of the recommendations ASQA is proposing. That will test their Yin and Yang.
New federal skills minister outlines his VET reform plans
Australia’s new skills minister has committed to sweeping reforms to the VET system in the wake of the Joyce review, with a strong focus on industry engagement.
In his first major address since taking the portfolio, the Assistant Minister for Vocational Education, Training and Apprenticeships, Steve Irons (pictured) has highlighted the central place of VET reform in the government’s policy agenda.
“This government is really keen to make sure we get this right.
“We’re not going to rush to failure – we’re going to make sure the community and industry gets involved as we make the changes,” he told the National Apprentice Employment Network conference in Queensland on Friday.
The former electrical apprentice revealed the role of his “good mate” and former Canberra housemate, Prime Minister Scott Morrison in pushing for a fresh look at the sector.
“He’s really focused on the education of apprentices.
“He picked me because he said ‘You’ve been there, you’ve done it, you know how to do it and you’ve run a small business’.”
“He’s focussed and he wants me to get the job done and to make sure we do it with an industry focus,” he said.
“Personally, I’ve looked at it over the last 30 years and I think the sector’s been captured a bit by trainers, educators and academics, and I think that, going forward, changes need to be made with industry-based support.”
He said that the implementation of the Joyce review recommendations would be based around industry engagement.
As an example, he cited Holmesglen’s Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Centre of Excellence, established in partnership with the Air Conditioning and Mechanical Contractors’ Association (AMCA).
“They’ve put in equipment which is current, not 30 years old, and they’re putting in training programs which are actually happening in buildings today, not 30 years ago.”
He said that during his time in parliament, he’d seen many governments “over-reach” with reforms not supported by industry that needed to be wound back.
He urged steps to get into schools earlier – around Years 8 and 9 – to build greater awareness of vocational choices.
“I think the department, after the meeting we had during the week, have got that message and I think they’re doing a great job and trying to create some packages that will get into schools,” he said.
He also called for harmonisation of curriculums and licensing across the states and territories, urging “a national curriculum with national licensing to give people portability across the whole of Australia with their vocational licensing or skill sets”.
Backbench coalition MP unloads on ASQA
The chair of a federal parliamentary committee has launched an extraordinary attack on the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA), claiming its audit activity is being misused to damage and, ultimately, wipe out some private training colleges.
Queensland Coalition backbencher Andrew Laming (pictured) told parliament his “nationwide investigation” of ASQA has revealed “aggressive and adversarial conduct” toward private RTOs, forcing many to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) over trivial matters.
“It appears to me ASQA is increasingly using the AAT as a vehicle for extinguishing RTOs simply by legal cost, reputational damage and delay,” he said.
He cited several cases where the evidence he had to hand appeared to be over-reach by ASQA. TAFEs, he said, had the opportunity to “shuffle things between units, close a module down and shift students across to something else”.
Mr Laming chairs the House of Representatives Employment, Education and Training Committee.
Craig Robertson, CEO of TDA said that the claims by Mr Laming should have the opportunity to be verified and recommended dialogue with ASQA.
The federal government has commenced the search for its new National Skills Commissioner who will lead the mega agency that will oversee the country’s VET sector.
Advertising has started for the “Interim Commissioner” who will oversee consultations, design and the initial work ahead of deciding the role and functions of the National Skills Commission (NSC), which will need to be legislated.
The government committed $48 million in the last Budget to creating the new national body, as recommended by the Joyce Review of VET.
The contender will require “senior level experience in government or the private sector, together with an impressive record of success in organisational leadership and innovation.”
The initial engagement is for approximately one year, with a “substantial remuneration package” and flexible location.
Applications close August 18.
Selection documentation and further information is available through Ian Hansen and Associates: email: email@example.com; or phone: Ian Hansen 0408 306 769.
Mixed signals confounding the VET sector, says Stephen Joyce
The author of the federal government’s VET reform blueprint, Stephen Joyce, says “confusing signals” coming from the sector were contributing to the lack of confidence on the part of employers and governments.
He told the National Apprentice Employment Network conference in Queensland last week that Australia was experiencing high employment growth and skill shortages, but also declining VET enrolments.
“We’re also seeing declines in government funding, both at the state and Commonwealth level, particularly at the state level.
“On the other hand, employment outcomes from vocational education are positive, yet employer satisfaction with vocational education is dropping, so there are some confusing signals being sent from the market about where we are at with vocational education,” he said.
“Meanwhile universities continue to grow, they continue to take on more students.
“And with the school leaving age being lifted, more students are staying at school, so not surprisingly, TAFEs and other providers are finding less enrolments because they are being squeezed at both ends.”
The lack of confidence was apparent among employers, RTOs and “funders”, he said.
“If governments were confident in the outcome of the VET sector generally they’d be investing more in it, but they’re not.”
ASQA invites input to annual training provider survey
ASQA is currently running its annual provider survey which allows RTOs, CRICOS providers and course owners to have their say about how the national regulator performs its functions.
The survey is closing shortly – midnight tomorrow.
This year, the survey also provides the opportunity to give feedback on the audit experience.
National Skills Week
26 August – 1 September 2019
Locations around Australia More information
TAFE Directors Australia 2019 Convention
‘The Power of TAFE’
3 – 5 September 2019
Brisbane More information
2019 National VET Conference
12 &13 September 2019
Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, Brisbane More Information
Community Colleges Australia 2019 Annual Conference
18-20 November 2019
The Stamford Plaza Hotel, Brisbane More Information
Australian Training Awards
21 November 2019
Brisbane, Queensland More information
Australian Council of Deans of Education Vocational Education Group
5th Annual Conference on VET Teaching and VET Teacher Education
9-10 December 2019
Charles Sturt University Wagga Wagga Campus More information
TAFE Queensland has budgeted $669,775 for overseas-related expenses in 2019-20, up from $551,946 in 2018-19.
More than half of next year’s travel bill ($412,200) will be for China, Hong Kong, Macau, Mongolia and Taiwan, while $135,100 will be spent travelling to Southeast Asia, including Brunei, Indonesia, Laos, Singapore and Thailand.
Other destinations include South Africa, the UK, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Peru, Canada, New Zealand and Nepal.
Training Minister Shannon Fentiman said for every dollar TAFE Queensland spent on overseas costs in 2018-19, $56 of international training revenue was generated.
“In 2019-20, TAFE Queensland has budgeted international training revenue of more than $32.5 million and overseas-related expenditure of $669,775, representing 2 per cent of total international training revenue,” she said, in response to a question on notice tabled during estimates hearings.
Ms Fentiman said international education and training was worth $4.6 billion to Queensland’s economy and supported more than 21,000 jobs.
In short, VET Vocational Education and Training is better than uni if your aim is to find a job and make good money.
‘University is for learning, VET is for earning‘ said Skills Minister Michaela Cash recently at a business breakfast, and it makes sense, according to the statistics. VET graduates earn higher salaries and have better job prospects while spending less time and money getting qualifications.
If your aim is to make money and achieve financial success, TAFE courses and VET courses are the way to go, and following the Joyce Report government spokespeople have been highlighting TAFEas the better option for many people.
Senator Cash encouraged more people to take on VET qualifications like Diplomas, Certificates III and IV, and Advanced Diplomas, saying that it’s a better path to a good income – since the skills taught in VET and TAFE are in high demand in Australia.
‘University is for learning, VET is for earning’Michaelia Cash, Skills Minister
VET makes economic sense for Australia, too. Australia’s national skills shortages in jobs like bricklayers, carpenters, plumbers and bakers, occupations demanding practical skills that are best learnt in vocational courses, or in care sectors like healthcare and community service.
By choosing a field in demand, you become a more valuable employee, enjoying higher salaries and benefits as companies compete to hire and keep you.
How is TAFE different to university?
TAFE and VET qualifications take from 6 months to 2 years, unlike university degrees which take 3 years minimum full-time. And while bachelor degrees can often cost over $30,000, TAFE and VET courses are usually much cheaper, especially as the fees for government-subsidised students are often heavily reduced.
Let’s not forget that courses in skill shortages are eligible for free TAFE – meaning that the student pays zero, zip, nada.
IF THAT’S NOT ENOUGH, YOU’LL ACTUALLY EARN ON AVERAGE A
HIGHER STARTING SALARY THAN A UNIVERSITY GRADUATE
and you don’t even need an ATAR to get in. In fact, often you don’t even need to have finished high school.
Of course, university education has its place, but it’s not for everybody. For those who are truly interested in learning and pursuing a field of knowledge for its own sake, becoming a university student and pursuing higher education can be a gateway to a wider world of education.
Further, employment prospects are not solely determined by whether you choose VET or university, rather they depend upon the subject you choose: in-demand industries like IT and health will always have better job prospects than low-demand ones with high competition.
The problem lies in expecting that the traditional path – from high school to university to a job – still applies, or that it’s the best way to a good career path.
But generally, if you’re looking to graduate with work-ready skills, VET qualifications are the better option.
“What we are hearing from employers is that we need to ensure that you have work-ready employees from day one… that is exactly what vocational education is going to give you – for both the employee and yourself as the employer.”
– Senator Cash
The expectation that going to uni guarantees you a good job (and a decent income) doesn’t reflect the 2019 work reality. University alone often isn’t enough to equip you with the skills to be job-ready when you graduate.
of University graduates surveyed in 2015 said their degree didn’t prepare them enough to find a job in their field.
Compare this to
of VET graduates who find employment after graduating.
Once a few years have passed and you’ve got your first full-time job, employment and levels even out to be about the same for TAFE and uni grads. Right out of the gate, though, TAFE qualifications are paid more and have a better chance of finding jobs.
Most employable degrees and qualifications
Projections from the Department of Education show that most jobs in the next 5 years (2019-2023) will require a post-secondary qualification. Out of the 10 fastest growing occupations, 7 require a TAFE or VET qualification such as a diploma or certificate.
So perhaps we should be talking about ‘most employable diplomas’ rather than degrees. The Australian industries with the highest job growth in the next four years are:
Medical and healthcare services: 116,000
Food and beverage service: 91,000
Construction services: 77000
Professional, Scientific and Technical Services (Excl Computer System design): 72,000
Social assistance services: 66,000
Public administration: 64,000
Preschool and school education: 57,000
Computer system design and related services: 54,000
Adult, community and other education: 40,000
Building and construction : 39,000
The specific jobs set to boom are:
General Clerks +22,200
Truck Drivers +16,200
Software And Applications Programmers +15,100
Advertising, Public Relations And Sales Managers +14,800
General Practitioners And Resident Medical Officers +14,500
Aged And Disabled Carers +77,400
Registered Nurses +65,300
Child Carers +25,800
General Sales Assistants +24,900
Education Aides +21,900
Source: Australian Government Department of Jobs and Small Business: National, State and Territory Skill Shortage Information
How much does it cost to go to TAFE? Is TAFE cheaper than uni?
TAFE courses usually cost significantly less than university degrees. And with high HELP debts on the rise, students are considering whether university is worth it, when they’re graduating with considerable debt.
High HELP debts are on the rise. The average owing HELP (formerly HECs) debt in Australia is $21,557, but debts over $50,000 have increased 30% from 2018’s data, and there are now 9x more debts over $100k than there were 10 years ago.
If you’re a government-subsidised student, TAFE courses may cost you anywhere between a couple of hundred dollars a few thousand, though it varies by course.
After the 2018 introduction of Free TAFE in Victoria, you may not even have to pay for your course at all if you meet the criteria of age, location, citizenship and education history. Eligible courses in skill shortage areas are fully subsidised by the government – meaning you pay nothing and have no HELP debt when you graduate.
Eligible courses fall into the following areas:
Building & Construction
Aged Care & Disability Care Support
Signage & Graphics
So, what’s the best choice? It depends what you want out of your study.
If you’re interested in learning for its own sake, and working with knowledge in a more abstract sense; or you have a particular interest in a field that requires a degree, a bachelor degree could be the first step on a fulfilling journey and an engaging career.
Some people aren’t suited to the classroom, however, and do much better learning practical skills on the job. If that sounds like you, consider VET qualifications as your pathway to a great income and employability.
You can even use them as an entry pathway to a course later on if you want to dive deeper into the theory. You’ll come out with work-ready skills and good earning potential straight away, and your job prospects will be solid, especially if you choose an in-demand field.
Wondering if uni is really for you? VET and TAFE are fantastic options and better suited to many people.