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If you were to guess who the highest
paid graduates in Australia were, would you guess doctors, lawyers,
Believe it or not, the highest paid
graduates are Vocational Education and Training (VET) graduates.
These findings are backed up by a
recent report from Skilling Australia.
According to Skilling Australia's
, it was found that on top of having
higher paid graduates, Vocational Education and Training (VET)
institutions, like TAFE
NSW, are helping qualify workers for roles within industries
currently experiencing skills shortages.
The report showed that VET students
complete their qualifications in less time than
university students, which means that not only are graduating VET
students earning more money, but they are
entering the workforce to do so much earlier.
released by McCrindle Research and
Skilling Australia Foundation
has found that up to 67% of
university students find work after graduation. On the
other hand, 78% of VET graduates, and a
whopping 92% of VET graduates who studied as part of an
apprenticeship, are able to find work after completing
"40% of current jobs in Australia
won't exist in 10 to 15 years."
Even with today's qualifications,
notable Australian futurist, Shara Evans, suggests that "the
reality is that 40% of current jobs in Australia won't exist in 10
to 15 years due to automation - that's five million jobs gone."
With that level of job loss, a large
number of Australians will either have to re-skill, retrain, or face
some level of unemployment.
Many of those wishing to re-skill
and/or retrain, will likely be compelled to study at universities to
attain new qualifications. However, the standard time to
complete a general Bachelor degree is 3
years, while a typical professional degree takes 4
or more years. For someone battling with unemployment,
this route could prove unfeasible.
VET students on the otherhand, can take as little
as 6 months to re-qualify and reskill. With
certificates, diplomas and advanced diplomas ranging between
6 months and 2 years, it can be argued that the VET route
is a favorable solution.
Despite all of these statistics,
public perception regrettably still suggests that a university
education is superior. Skilling Australia's CEO, Nicholas Wyman has
expressed that that the vocational education and training sector
(VET) still needs to tackle such "stigmas."
"The prospects for getting a
are tumbling with a uni degree."
Mr Wyman says that "VET
graduates on average earn at least as much as their uni graduate
peers, and the prospects for getting a job are tumbling with a uni
degree - but with VET, they're rising and rising."
The report also states that
VET students are employed much faster and earn higher wages than
university graduates, indicating that the median starting wage for
VET graduates is up to $56,000, compared to
$54,000 for university graduates.
Skilling Australia also found a notable difference in completion
rates between university and VET students. Between 2005 and 2013, Bachelor students
recorded a completion rate of 73.6%. This rate
dropped to 58.5% for students over the age of 25,
and less than half (49.2%) for part-time students.
By comparison, the load pass rate for
Commonwealth and state government funded VET courses was
82.8% - nearly 10 percent higher than university courses.
With online and technological
advances, modern society is making greater use of an increase in
cutting-edge, respectable, and lucrative career options that don't
require university qualifications.
"These jobs exist in progressive,
fast-growth industries, such as healthcare, bio-tech and cyber
security, agriculture, information technology and service
industries, such as tourism and hospitality," Mr Wyman explains.
"The VET sector is well-known for
partnering with industry and government to equip people,
particularly younger people, with workplace specific skills and
knowledge which aim to meet current and future employment
Future projections back up Mr Wyman's
claims, showing substantial growth in industries which are dominated
by human relational skills. The largest industry growth areas are
predicted to be health professionals, carers and aides,
administrators, chefs and electricians.
The report suggests that of
the 10 industry subgroups with the largest projected employment
gains by 2020, all can be trained for via VET courses.
Reports on skill shortages continue to
reveal that in many industries, there is a high demand for labour
that is not being matched by supply. The biggest shortages were in
the supply of technicians (specifically automotive and food) and
trade workers - roles that VET programs are
Young people are seemingly discouraged
from entering these programs and filling these vacancies due to
misconceptions surrounding VET and its effectiveness. Yet
encouraging young Australians to pursue VET qualifications will
ensure that they will become ‘skills ready,' are more employable in
in-demand roles, and much less likely to face long-term unemployment
in the years ahead.
VET institutes like TAFE NSW are poised to
be at the forefront of future employment readiness training, when
you consider that according to the Commonwealth Government
Department of Employment, the VET sector already provides training
courses for 9 out of 10 occupations predicted to
have the greatest growth of all new jobs over the next five years.
In order to ensure the stability of
the Australian economy during the challenges of the future, such as
rapidly developing technology and globalisation, Australia needs
more adaptable workers who are able to engage in learning throughout
their lives. Not only does this show that VET courses are more
relevant than ever when it comes to preparing Australia to be more
globally competitive, but it shows that VET institutes should be
held in equal, if not higher regard than universities when being
considered as an option for employment qualification.
When you combine these
future job projections, qualification
timeframes, graduate employment rates,
and the higher earnings of graduates as outlined
McCrindle Research and Skilling
Australia Foundation report
, the VET sector
appears to edge ahead of the competition as the preferred choice
in preventing skills shortages, providing people
with the skill sets required for jobs of the
future, and for preparing people for long and