Why the Negative Views of the VET Sector Need to Change

The VET fee help scandal left hundreds of people in debt for many thousands of dollars. The ‘students’ never even started the courses AND the training providers that claimed to be running these courses, were non-existent.

The VET sector is the option for young people who possibly didn’t achieve the ATAR they wanted and don’t have any other post school options.

But is this fair? The fact is, we’re looking at a generation that for the first time are going to be worse off than their parents in terms of key social and economic measures. Half of our Australian 25 year olds are still not working full time. 60% of those 25 year olds hold some kind of tertiary qualification, including many who have university degrees.

Every year we lose approximately $15.9 billion in potential tax revenue from young people who are still job hunting.

Of those who are working full time at 25, 1 in 10 are working more than one job to get those full time hours. This suggests that even with so many students with a higher education qualification, the education system is failing to prepare students for the workplace. Meaning the VET sector could be the answer.

These are skills that are often taught at a higher level in a VET qualification, rather than through a university degree. The FYA has found that work integrated learning (WIL) is crucial to making people employable. Something vet providers offer through their tertiary education and vocational training.




The Australian government is predicting that more than 990,000 new jobs will be created by 2020, from Victoria to New South Wales and Queensland. Almost half of those jobs will require a certification from VET courses or TAFE schools in the form of a Certificate, Diploma, or Advanced Diploma.

Knowing all of this, why has the education sector flourished in university degrees but seen TAFE enrolments fall over the past five years?

“TAFE and VET enrolments are down by almost 23%”

– Megan O’Connell of the Mitchell Institute

Without policymakers joining the conversation and making decisions, the labour market will continue to stagnate. There will be an oversupply of workers not qualified for the jobs we need done.

The Victorian state government recently announced a series of free TAFE courses to help workers get training that will hopefully in turn, get them a job. More does need to be done on a commonwealth government level, as well as in other states and territories if we want to see a higher employment rate and address industry needs.

“VET is in the perfect position to make a real difference in this country by creating workers that employers want to hire.”

– The National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER)

Plus, the discussion around TAFE and VET needs to change. Registered training organisations need to be seen as an option for more than just school leavers who didn’t achieve their desired ATAR score.

They need to also be recognised as a valid option for anyone looking to further their qualifications. Which in turn, will make them more likely to be employed than a university graduate.


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