VET courses are providing our young people with practical skills, qualifications and a pathway to a career in vital industries within our communities. Here’s what you need to know.
Vocational Education and Training (VET) is becoming more popular in schools nationwide. In Queensland, additional government funding is expanding the VET opportunities that are available to students undertaking senior studies in schools. VET courses offer students the opportunity to engage in practical learning in their area of interest. They will also be obtaining skills and qualifications towards a potential career path. Increasingly, guidance and transition staff in schools are including VET courses when tailoring senior study programs to the individual needs of students, to support them in completing their secondary schooling and pursuing further education, training, or employment post Year 12.
WHO SHOULD CONSIDER A VET COURSE?
Students that require an alternative to highly academic senior studies should strongly consider including VET studies in their senior education planning. Many of these courses are career entry pathways and can lead to school-based apprenticeships and traineeships. This involves students working one day per week in paid employment in the industry area of the qualification. Here they will gain additional skills, and reduce the time of completing a full apprenticeship once they have completed their schooling. Additionally, students who wish to study at university will benefit from completing qualifications such as Certificates in Fitness, Hospitality, Kitchen Operations, Retail, Business (and more). These will provide them with casual paid employment while they are completing their university studies.
HOW DO VET COURSES CONTRIBUTE TO A STUDENT’S QCE?
Studies are available at Certificate I, Certificate II, Certificate III and Certificate IV level while students are still at school. Completed qualifications contribute credit points towards a student’s Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE). Certificate I studies contribute two points; Certificate II contribute four points; and Certificate III and IV contribute eight points of the 20 points required to obtain a QCE. Additionally, Certificate III and IV qualifications can contribute toward the student’s ATAR score.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF VET QUALIFICATIONS?
Completing a VET qualification while still at school benefits students in many ways. The vocational skills that they gain are highly sought after by employers. Skills such as working in a team, problem solving and competency in practical tasks are key components of these courses. All VET course providers are required to consult with industry in the development, implementation and validation of the courses. Then, course delivery is required to be either in a workplace or a simulated version of the workplace. This ensures that the skills students are acquiring are consistent with what is required in the actual workplace.
Many VET courses also provide direct pathways into university degrees, especially in the areas of health, nursing and ICT. Therefore, there are many benefits of including these studies in a student’s senior education plan. VET studies that are available to students vary from school to school, as some secondary schools have more on-site learning available than others. All senior students, however, can access VET courses through TAFE and other outside providers. These providers offer a range of face-to-face and online VET courses that are also eligible for government funding through the VET in schools’ program, or VETis.
WHAT CAN PARENTS DO?
Parents can assist their children to make informed decisions about their senior education planning and VET options. This is possible by consulting with VET and Careers Coordinators in schools, attending information nights at their child’s school, and Open Days at TAFE and university campuses. Year 10 is the ideal time for this to occur. Such planning should also include consultation with senior subject teachers and coordinators, and VET trainers and assessors. VET courses ensure that our young people are skilled for work, enabling skills shortages to be addressed using local talent, rather than sourcing workers through skilled immigration programs.
Australia currently has shortages in trades and health services, especially in aged care and disability services. There are a range of VET courses that offer direct entry to employment and further education or training in these high demand areas. For example, heath support services and community services, and many trade-based courses in engineering, construction, automotive, hospitality and aviation. Many of these are career-entry courses. They should be paired with general subject areas of study. This ensures that students are provided with a wide range of employment and further study options upon completing their senior schooling. You can read more about school’s helping students choose suitable careers here.
Sharon Mann is the VET Coordinator at St Andrew’s Catholic College, Redlynch