There are many different types of Vocational Education and Training (VET) qualifications available in the hospitality, tourism and personal services field, which lead to wide variety of jobs. Most qualifications are available at certificate, diploma and advanced diploma level. In the tourism industry, you can choose from travel, tourism, international hotel and resort management, and guiding. In the hospitality industry, courses are offered in hospitality, commercial cookery, Asian cookery, kitchen operations, patisserie, wine industry operations and events. Those who would like to work in the personal services industry can choose between nail technology, beauty services, beauty therapy and hairdressing.
There are also some higher-level VET qualifications available at the vocational graduate certificate and vocational graduate diploma level, which are equivalent to the graduate certificates and graduate diplomas offered in the higher education sector but offer a more practical focus. These courses train graduates for management roles within their industry. Qualifications available at this level include international hotel management and hairdressing creative leadership.
Training in the hospitality, tourism and personal services field has traditionally occurred in the VET sector, and many professionals have launched their careers through a VET qualification. While undergraduate and postgraduate degrees usually prepare graduates for management roles, VET qualifications provide practical training that prepares graduates for roles at the operational level (chef or travel agent, for example) as well as management level (such as resort manager), depending on the level of qualification completed. Due to the practical nature of the hospitality, tourism and personal services industries, industry placements are included in many of the courses.
Applicants must meet academic and English language entry requirements, which vary between courses, institutions and qualification levels. Entry to some institutions is highly competitive and requires students to attend an interview. For more information about VET qualifications and entry requirements, see Vocational Education.
Where to study
VET qualifications in hospitality, tourism and personal services are available at TAFE institutes, universities with TAFE departments and also many private colleges around the country. There are a number of specialist providers in this field. You may find that there is greater range of courses and a higher level of expertise at specialist providers and institutions located in popular tourist areas.
Some of the private colleges are elite residential schools, where students live and work on campus as part of their course. Residential schools may charge higher fees than other institutions, but fees usually include accommodation and meals.
Practical experience is a very important part of many courses in the hospitality, tourism and personal services fields, so it is important to check that the courses and institutions you are considering are able to offer you these opportunities. This includes looking out for up-to-date facilities and equipment, industry-based learning and simulated training environments (such as beauty salons that are open to the public and student-run restaurants). You should also look for institutions that have good contacts with your industry, as this will be helpful when you are seeking work at the end of your course.
You may also be interested in overseas job opportunities within these industries, which means that international recognition could be a factor when you are doing your research. You should look for courses and institutions that have gained accreditation from the relevant international organisations in your industry and enquire with institution staff about your job prospects overseas.