Australia’s vocational education sector provides a broad range of study options, leading to hands-on trades and semi-professional roles in areas such as accounting, business and even law. If you’re considering an Australian education, it’s well worth considering your opportunities outside of the university sector. To help you start your research process, we’ve summarised what you need to know about Vocational Education and Training (VET).
1. Vocational study is increasingly popular among international students. Of the total 589,860 international enrolments in 2014, almost 150,000 were in the VET sector (Department of Education and Training, 2014). Enrolments and commencements in the VET sector increased by 11.7 and 20.1 per cent respectively when compared to the 2013 academic year. Indian students made up the largest proportion of VET students, followed by Chinese, Korean and Thai students
2. Vocational courses are available at different types of providers. The main three include government-owned Technical and Further Education (TAFE) institutes, private colleges and universities. In fact, a number of Australian universities operate as dual-sector institutions — meaning they offer everything from certificates to higher degrees by research! Some TAFE institutes also offer bachelor degrees, providing useful pathways into higher education.
3. The VET sector is usually more accessible than higher education. Entry generally requires completion of schooling equivalent to Australian Year 10, 11 or 12. In the higher education sector, students need to have completed schooling up to Year 12 level as well as satisfying prerequisites such as studying certain secondary school subjects as part of their final certificate.
4. Courses in the VET sector have shorter durations than higher education degrees. This means that while a degree might take three, four (or even five) years to complete, a vocational certificate or diploma might take as little as six months or a year. Shorter durations allow you to explore a field before committing to a longer period of study or enter the workforce sooner if a higher qualification is not required in your field.
5. You can complete a VET qualification as a pathway into the higher education sector, working your way up the qualification ladder. This means that you can enrol in a lower-level course (such as a diploma), before progressing into the degree equivalent. This is a great option if you have an Australian degree in mind but can’t meet the entry requirements. Although there’s no guarantee, you may be granted Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) or ‘credit’ towards the higher qualification. For example, you could enter the second year of a degree after completing a diploma. Explore your options by browsing institution profiles and submitting an enquiry.