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TAFE focuses chiefly on equipping students with practical skills
If you're looking for job-ready employees, you'd be wise to consider
hiring TAFE graduates.
In recent decades, the dividing line between TAFE and university has
grown fuzzier. Obviously, if you're looking to hire a doctor you're
still going to expect them to have a university degree, while if
you're looking to hire a hairdresser you'll be expecting them to have
the relevant TAFE certificates (See Do I
need a Certificate, Diploma or Degree?).
But there are now many fields – nursing, IT, fashion, tourism and
graphic design, to name a few – where employers have the option of
going with either a TAFE or university-educated applicant.
Both TAFE and university are accredited by the government and both
seek to provide their students with the skills they need to have a
satisfying career. However, as a general rule, TAFE focuses chiefly on
equipping students with practical skills while university encourages
students to explore the more abstract, theoretical side of things. As
a result, TAFE produce graduates with lots of hands-on experience for
the following three reasons:
Much more so than university, TAFE's role is to provide graduates
with the skill sets that industry bodies and employers say they need.
TAFE works closely with particular industries when designing courses
and employs teachers with plenty of relevant experience.
While other educational institutions may encourage some form of work
experience, none come close to TAFE in terms of having students
undertake substantial, well-designed and productive work placements.
During these deployments, students learn not only technical skills but
also about the workplace culture of the industry they're interested in.
TAFE places students in small classes, gives them lots of hands-on
training and requires them to complete a number of practical
assignments. For example, someone studying film
at TAFE - Certificate IV in Screen Media - will learn
skills such as lighting a room, correctly position a boom microphone
and operate a camera, rather than writing essays on the history of
Historically, university qualifications are usually still seen as
more prestigious than those acquired at TAFE. However, employers
interested in hiring those with the skills to make a contribution to
their organisation from day one would do well to consider opting for a
TAFE NSW graduate.