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:

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

Find a course

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