VET enrolments have steadily dropped in the last decade, while universities have swelled with students to the point where oversupply of graduates in the job market has become a legitimate concern. So, what is it that is stopping young people from going down the VET path?
If you asked the average joe on the street who they thought would earn more – someone who had a university degree and someone who didn’t – what do you think the general consensus would be? Well, according to a study by TAFE, more than two thirds of Australians believe university graduates take home an extra $10,000 each year, yet recent VET grads earn an average wage of $56,000 compared to $54,000 for their tertiary educated counterparts. This suggests that while obtaining a VET qualification is a great career move, it still isn’t perceived this way in 2018.
Reputation of providers
The VET-FEE-HELP loan scheme was rorted by multiple private providers and colleges, pocketing the money of thousands of people – many of whom entered into courses they weren’t prepared for and often never completed. With several of these providers shut down or put into administration in recent years, it was always going to be tough for the VET sector to regain the trust of the public.
Narrow perception of what VET entails
A common school of thought is that VET equals apprenticeship, which means becoming a builder, plumber or electrician. While these are all great options (just take a look at the recently released tradies rich list), there is a stack of other career paths available through VET, from finance and technology to engineering and aviation.
So, why is vocational education a good call?
There are a host of benefits associated with a VET qualification. Hands-on training, good pay straight after graduation and a lesser financial burden than university grads are all good reasons, as are the strong job opportunities currently available due to skills shortages in various vocational roles throughout Australia.
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