Taking learning by doing to the next level with Vocational Education and Training

Taking learning by doing to the next level with Vocational Education and Training


Tomorrow's nurses, designers and engineers are undertaking practical Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses to give them industry ready - and future proof - mindsets and skills.

Once upon a time being prepared for work required students to spend three years writing essays and doing exams to complete a degree or certification. Post-completion, they would secure a grad-job in the industry of their choice where employers would mould their knowledge and help them apply it to the needs of their role and organisation.

But today, the world of work and consequently the expectations of graduates, are markedly different.

According to FYA’s New Work Reality report, despite being more educated than ever before with 60% of Australian 25 year-olds holding a post-secondary qualification, half of them are unable to secure work by the same age. 75% of young people believe that a key reason they can’t get work is because they don’t have the skills employers are looking for or the know-how to put them into practice in the work environment.

Employer demand for enterprise skills such as creativity, communication, digital literacy, problem solving and critical thinking is higher than ever, and employers are willing to pay more for them. In addition, jobs in the future will require 30% more time learning on the job by 2030.

Work-integrated models offer opportunities to step into the workplace, get a feel for what a profession is like, and understand what the job would demand. They provide an opportunity to understand the importance of being able to work as part of a team, self-management and communication.

There are lots of debates raging at the moment about what pathways young people can take to build the right skills to be job ready. VET is often presented as the least desirable due to misinformation that suggests it lacks future focus or real industry connection.

In fact, the VET sector currently provides training courses for 10 out of 10 occupations projected to have the greatest growth of new jobs over the next 5 years. Further, in Australia, 78% of VET graduates are employed soon after training. For VET grads who completed an apprenticeship that jumps to 92%.

VET provides opportunities to get hands-on skills in a range of future focussed jobs including Aged Care, Web Development, Business, Psychology or Digital Interactive Games. Each of these courses also provide a balance between in-classroom instruction and on-the-job training, helping students learn by doing, and to recognise how their skills will be applied at work.

For Web Developer Jarrad completing qualification for Graphic Design and Web Development while undertaking an apprenticeship enabled him to understand how to apply his skills straight away – and to then re-skill as a teacher to help others learn to build design and development skills.

Rachel initially believed that University was the way to go, after discovering she could mesh her love for engineering with her love of aviation at TAFE, she switched gears – and has now been working in the aviation industry for more than eight years. All of her skills were learnt through physically producing and maintaining aircraft and meant she could secure work with top aviation companies.

Each of these courses provided the opportunity to understand in real time the importance of being able to work as part of a team for mutual goals, self-management, and communication beyond the classroom or textbook.

If you want to find out more about the opportunities available through VET courses take a look at myskills.gov.au.

FYA has partnered with the Federal Department of Education and Training to highlight the opportunities in Vocational Education for young Australians navigating the world of work. The So I Heard series explores just some of the many options out there.