In today’s modern times where new, in-demand, and niched job requirements emerge every few years, it’s important for today’s generation to learn specific skills even before landing their first job. Because Australia’s education system is regarded as one of the best in the world, it is able to provide a relevant learning experience for its students. This world-class education system allows them to take courses best-suited for their skills and preferences that will prepare them to create their own career paths.
However, some students may find it very confusing to decide which path to take after secondary school. In helping students weigh their career path options, educators must encourage their learners to keep an open mind to give their choices equal merit.
Understanding Vocational Education
Vocational Education and Training (VET) is a series of programs designed to hone the skills of Australians in various industries such as trade & office work, retail, hospitality, and technology. VET is geared towards providing a practical, work-oriented skillset that students can use right off school.
Tasks in vocational training are more associated with workplace tasks, where the curriculum is designed to help students demonstrate their skills and abilities. Students are then assessed through a competency-based approach, where students are required to execute skills, and show that they learned something from the lessons.
Because courses are aimed at training experts for specific industries, career choices are always in abundance in vocational studies for rich career paths.
Moreover, the government has created a number of programs and frameworks under the VET, making vocational education accessible for both students and professionals who are looking to learn new skills, or shift careers.
Admission in Vocational school
Getting into vocational schools should be easy after secondary education. Students in Year 10-12 may already start applying for VET programs, depending on which courses they are applying for. Some courses have more prerequisite subjects, as well as work experience requirements. To properly guide students in getting into their desired vocational education, it’s important to inform them about what these qualifications are.
Before getting into a VET school or institution, students must choose which course to take first. While this may sound simple, this decision will be influential in what industry they will end up in. Because VET qualifications per industry vary, the Australian Qualifications Framework illustrates what skills and level of expertise each corresponding level requires.
Higher Education vs. Vocational Education
As students weigh their options, one of the hardest decisions is whether to enrol in a university or pursue vocational education. Because studying in a university may seem more formal and valuable, some students favour university education – even at the expense of what’s best suited for them.
University education basically offers an academic experience, while vocational training has a different learning approach that’s focused on specific task mastery. Courses in vocational education will teach students specific knowledge and skills that will help them perform a particular job role.
Because each person learns differently, some might find vocational learning more effective than university education. For students who find it easier to understand lessons by doing, VET programs will be a more appropriate choice, as this type of schooling encourages students to get their hands busy in understanding concepts and applying techniques in work situations. On the other hand, students who learn better through discourse may find university education a better-suited choice.
In fact, vocational education may be deemed as a more flexible approach to learning. Some experts have debated how vocational education can be used as a means to teach academic courses. Some students also take vocational education as a prelude to university.
Shifting from Vocational Education into University
According to the Department of Education and Training, VET was the basis for 12 per cent of admissions into higher education. Coincidentally, in some universities, the number of students taking vocational education for university admission increased two-fold, from 32 per cent in 2011 to 64 per cent in 2016.
A research has identified 48 programs across 27 universities that are meant to prepare students for higher education degree course. These courses are also offered for domestic students free of charge and have little to no prerequisite for entry in terms of a student’s academic performance. Indeed, vocational education is also a valuable pathway into university.
Career fruition in Vocational Education
The curriculum currently being used in vocational education is optimized for the Australian job market. Because of this, it helps VET graduates to find a job with ease. Students who are not planning to work overseas will find their vocational training and education very helpful in landing a job.
However, landing a job is just the start. Just like university education, students who took up vocational courses can study higher levels of certification for a more specialised level of knowledge. This will be crucial in seeking a promotion at work and will help employees become experts in their field.
In searching for the right career path, students must be able to find a way to pique their interests while making their skill base grow. Through VET programs, students are able to practice their craft hands-on, and shift into higher education should they opt to. Evidently, vocational education and training can be a great career choice in attaining a successful career in the long run.