School to TAFE

Whether you’re still at school, about to leave, or recently left, TAFE NSW offers a range of learning options to give you valuable skills to help you reach your career goals.


Still at school?

To give you a headstart when you enter the workforce, TAFE NSW provides study options while you’re still at school that may contribute to your School Certificate or Higher School Certificate:

  • TVET courses – TAFE delivered HSC VET (vocational education and training) courses provide you with workforce skills and can help you gain credit towards a TAFE NSW qualification
  • School-based apprenticeships or traineeships – These combine paid work, training and school. For more information visit the School-Based Apprenticeships and Traineeships website.

Leaving school?

There are different TAFE NSW learning options available depending on your age and what level of schooling you’ve completed.

Under 17 and wanting to leave school?

If you’re under 17 and want to leave school, your options have been affected by a recent change in the law in NSW. From January 2010 you must complete Year 10 and then continue in either full-time education, training, paid employment or a combination of these options until you’re at least 17 years of age.

Completing Year 10 will open up more opportunities for a better education, more training and work experience which means more choices for life after school.

Once you’ve completed Year 10 you can:

  • stay at school to complete Years 11 and 12
  • do a full-time course at TAFE NSW or another Registered Training Organisation (RTO)
  • get a full-time job
  • take up an apprenticeship or traineeship
  • undertake a combination of work and study to make a full-time workload

More information about options for school students under 17 is available from the NSW Department of Education and Communities (DEC):

In exceptional circumstances you may be able to study a course equivalent to Year 10 at TAFE NSW. You’ll need to discuss this with your school principal, who must approve your formal application.

Completed your HSC?

If you’ve completed or are about to complete your Higher School Certificate (HSC), TAFE NSW can offer you:

  • a wide range of full-time and part-time courses to provide you with workplace skills and qualifications sought by employers
  • a range of Diploma and Advanced Diploma courses that provide credit towards a university course
  • apprenticeships and traineeships, which combine formal studies with work and on-the-job training
  • pre-apprenticeship courses to develop your employability skills
  • recognition of prior learning gained through TVET, other HSC studies and employment.

Talk to your school careers advisor or a TAFE NSW Counsellor for help selecting a course to start your career. TAFE NSW course selection is not based on an Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR).

Over 17 and leaving school?

School leaving age information at your local TAFE NSW Institute

Find out more information about library locations and services at your local Institute:


Not sure which is your local Institute?

If you’re over 17 and are leaving school, but haven’t completed the Higher School Certificate (HSC), TAFE NSW can offer you:

  • a wide range of full-time and part-time courses to provide you with workplace skills and qualifications sought by employers
  • apprenticeships and traineeships, which combine formal studies with work and on-the-job training
  • pre-apprenticeship courses to help you gain an apprenticeship or traineeship

Find a course to match your skills

TAFE NSW courses have various entry requirements. You can choose a course to suit your experience level and learning needs. Many courses require little or no work experience or access to the workplace, and don’t require completion of a previous TAFE NSW course:

List of courses with no formal educational entry requirements 

List of courses with Year 10 or equivalent entry requirements 

List of courses with Year 12 or equivalent entry requirements 

Can’t find what you want?

Recognition and credit for school studies

You may be able to obtain recognition for subjects and courses you’ve studied at school to gain credit towards your TAFE NSW qualification.

School subjects for which you could gain recognition include:

  • TVET studies (nationally recognised units from Training Packages or Accredited Courses).
  • a range of Board-developed HSC subjects. (You’ll need to provide ’current’ evidence i.e. show that you have successfully completed the relevant HSC course within the last five years. You can then discuss with TAFE staff possible credit in the course you’re interested in).

For advice on credit for your school studies:

You may be able to use your previous study and other evidence of your knowledge, skills and experience to gain Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL). RPL is an assessment process that assesses your formal and informal learning to determine whether you’ve achieved the required competency standards.

Get advice

For advice on the range of TAFE NSW learning options for school students and school leavers:

Find out more

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TAFE NSW HIGHER EDUCATION

 Go higher with a TAFE NSW degree
  • Duncan WilsonThe teachers were professional, approachable and always willing to go the extra mile to help me gain my qualification.Duncan Wilson
    Certificate IV in Community Services Work
    Illawarra Institute
  • Nicole MartelliPort Macquarie Campus has a relaxed look and feel to it with lots of little courtyards and outdoor seating, capitalising on the area's agreeable climate.Nicole Martelli
    Diploma of Remedial Massage
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  • Claudia LeeI loved the practicality of the course as everything used in the classroom relates to the industry and the teachers were fantastic! They have worked in industry and know their stuff.Claudia Lee
    Certificate IV in Screen and Media
    Northern Sydney Institute
  • Bruna DaudtNot only did I learn about a subject I am passionate about, the flexibility offered at Hornsby Campus allowed me to work and study at the same time.Bruna Daudt
    Diploma of Sustainability
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  • Leslie WilliamsWe had a great time building a house for Aboriginal Housing. We got the feel of what it was like being on site around other trades.Leslie Williams
    Certificate III in Carpentry & Joinery, Certificate IV Building & Construction
    Riverina Institute
  • Alistair CouttsEvery class was fulfilling and taught with humour and in a way that was easy to relate to. The laughter and humour in the classroom helped us wade through the material and course in general.Alistair Coutts
    Diploma of Nursing (Enrolled-Division 2 Nursing)
    Riverina Institute
  • Matthew NimbsStudying online meant there was no daily travel required which is a significant time and money saver. The flexible learning allowed me to juggle study and family life whilst still getting my daily activities done.Matthew Nimbs
    Diploma of Conservation and Land Management
    North Coast Institute
  • Ashlee HodsonAshlee's advice for students contemplating studying at TAFE is "Do it! It can open up so many opportunities that you didn't know existed."Ashlee Hodson
    Business administration and human resources
    South Western Sydney Institute
  • Hamish ProustTAFE offers the appeal of smaller class size, personalised support and teachers with industry experience.Hamish Proust
    Environmental monitoring & technology
    Illawarra Institute
  • Rachael LachlanTAFE seemed like a perfect option for me that would fit into my lifestyle. It was not as expensive as university or a private college. The smaller class sizes made it easier to speak with teachers and get to know classmates.Rachael Lachlan
    Events management
    Northern Sydney Institute
  • Rabi ImamMeadowbank TAFE has great facilities... the flexibility offered in the course timetable ensured that I was able to work and study at the same time.Rabi Imam
    IT network security
    Northern Sydney Institute
  • Lachlan RobertsonThe St Leonards Campus is a fantastic place to study. The people are friendly and the learning facilities great... very modern, up-to-date and relevant.Lachlan Robertson
    Film and television
    Northern Sydney Institute
  • Shingisai-ChandoI chose to study nursing at Ultimo College because it has the best industry reputation in NSW for the Enrolled Nursing course.Shingisai-Chando
    Enrolled nursing
    Sydney Institute

     
  • Luke EastmanThe technical knowledge I gained at TAFE helped me to better understand the theory behind the design and identify the practicalities relating to the construction process.Luke Eastman
    Civil construction design
    Sydney Institute
  • Anne LeeOne of the key advantages of studying at TAFE NSW is that learning isn’t limited to the classroom.Anne Lee
    Certificate III in Meat Processing (Retail Butcher)
    South Western Sydney Institute
  • Alex KeirI was about to drop out of school when a teacher told me about the school-based apprenticeship at TAFE. If you are considering doing a TAFE course go for it. You meet people with similar interests and get qualifications for the job of your dreams.Alex Keir
    Certificate II in Automotive Vehicle Servicing (specialising in light vehicle)
    South Western Sydney Institute
  • Brad FieldWorking in a supportive environment make this an absolutely terrific course. The teachers are extremely helpful, know their trade and always seem to go the extra mile just to help out. It is a benefit for life.Brad Field
    Certificate III in Automotive Mechanical Technology (Heavy Vehicle Road Transport)
    Riverina Institute
  • Bree DonnellyThe skills, knowledge and experience I gained through my education have provided me with the confidence to further pursue my studies in business at university.Bree Donnelly
    Diploma of Management
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  • Courtney ColemanI chose to be a school-based trainee because I wanted to experience working as a nurse before finishing school.Courtney Coleman
    Certificate III in Health Services Assistance Nursing
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  • Damien ManiOnce I got a taste of the TAFE education experience I was hooked. The best part of my experience was the flexibility to learn by attending classes after work.Damien Mani
    Certificate III in Engineering – Fabrication Trade and Certificate IV in Engineering
    North Coast Institute
  • Dianna SchultzTAFE assisted me with admission to university and gave me extra skills and knowledge to succeed in my degree. The teachers were fantastic and very knowledgeable.Dianna Schultz
    Certificate IV in Hospitality (Catering Operations)
    South Western Sydney Institute
  • Ethan WattersI heard positive reports about the Diploma course and believed the training was a stepping stone to further study.Ethan Watters
    Diploma of Nursing
    Hunter Institute
  • Jamie SkaltsounisTAFE provided the platform whereby I felt I could not just learn from the teachers, but also from other students and their work and business experiences.Jamie Skaltsounis
    Advanced Diploma of Business (Marketing)
    Sydney Institute
  • Jason AmiesMy study led directly to my current employment – it was through teachers and contacts at TAFE that I met my employer. I am currently employed as the events and sponsorship manager for a company that organises seminars in the health care sector.Jason Amies
    Advanced Diploma of Events Management
    Western Sydney Institute
  • Juanita WightsonThe best opportunity I have been given is to work and study at the same time. TAFE has enhanced my life by providing me with qualifications and ability to always be employed.Juanita Wighton
    Certificate III in Local Government
    Western Institute
  • Kirra MatikainenTAFE NSW has had a positive influence on me in many ways. I was able to build on skills and become the hairdresser I am today.Kirra Matikainen
    Certificate III in Hairdressing
    Hunter Institute
  • Kirrilee ToughI must admit that I was very nervous about “going back to school” but that soon turned to excitement when I realised the class was all feeling the same and we were all there for one reason – to learn.Kirrilee Tough
    Certificate III in Financial Services (Accounts and Clerical)
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  • Marie DolleyI needed to pursue a training course that was fully-accredited to enter the field.Marie Dolley
    Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing
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  • Poppy ConroyIn a funny way, studying at TAFE actually helped me find more balance in my life. My teachers were the reason my experience was so positive and they believed in me which made all the difference.Poppy Conroy
    Diploma of Hospitality
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  • Rosalie WhitelawThe difference with TAFE is that it offers you an environment where like-minded people come together to achieve similar goals. It gives you a support network like no other.Rosalie Whitelaw
    Certificate IV in Tertiary Preparation
    Illawarra Institute
  • Sarah CoulthurstThe teachers are always offering their assistance and more than willing to help whenever you need them. I study flexibly, at a time which suits me, attend the campus when I need assistance and adapt my study to maximise my benefits.Sarah Coulthurst
    Certficate IV in Business
    Riverina Institute
  • Viengkeo PhoupraseuthI was nervous at first, worrying whether I would find enough work to keep me going. But TAFE opened up so many doors for me.Viengkeo Phoupraseuth
    Diploma in Interpreting
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