myth: you won't earn as much
There’s a generalised misconception among society that people who leave school to study vocational education and training through means of apprenticeships earn significantly less than those who go on to university to earn a degree. Not only is this statement entirely misleading, the reality is in fact quite the opposite. Put simply – students studying VET earn while they learn. Not just that, they earn more throughout their first two years working full-time than the average Australian in a similar position – this according to the Australian Apprenticeship Support Network.
For those aged 24 years or younger, apprenticeship and trainee incomes are significantly higher than the Australian average income. Graduates who obtain VET qualifications (especially Cert II) are likely to earn at or above the median annual Australian wage. Best of all, those who graduate from VET are nearly 80% more likely to become employed within six months of finishing their study. The Australian Jobs 2018 report supports this fact, adding that workers who hold a VET qualification at the certificate III or higher level earn more than those who have not studied after leaving school. “In 2017, the median annual income for VET graduates working full-time six months after completing their training was $55,000. The highest salaries were for those who studied Architecture and Building ($62,500), Education ($62,400), Engineering and Related Technologies ($59,900) and Management and Commerce ($59,500).”
Myth: uni is the only respectable option
For many young students the reality of a failed stint at university doesn’t just affect them emotionally, but financially too. Current research shows that three in ten students drop out of their degrees with an average of $12,000 cost per incomplete course. What’s more, the loss of earnings or other study opportunities while at university compound to create the fear of letting others down. Whether students are dropping out because they’ve made the wrong decisions, chosen the incorrect courses to study, or simply didn’t know what they were in for – the cost of a failed university degree (both financially and emotionally) is not outweighed by the potential benefits.
In a recent interview, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s education and employment director, Jenny Lambert, spoke of the importance of informing students, teachers and parents about jobs of the future – especially prior to enrolling in university. “There needs to be more effort by the government to promote that information about where the jobs are likely to be,” she told news.com.au. “When people start their university degree, they may have an over-inflated expectation that everyone out of university gets a job.” Lambert has a point. Even for those who complete a university degree, the reality is employment outcomes for university graduates are falling. “Students should be looking at certain courses, certain universities that might be above and below the average for employment outcomes, and all that data is available through student surveys, it’s just about better informing the market.”
myth: vet qual. don't sustain good employment prospects
Not only are VET qualifications a solid basis for employment both in Australia and overseas, those with VET qualifications account for almost one third of employed people – marginally more than university graduates. As VET qualifications provide accredited training in job related and technical skills across industries like trades, office work, hospitality and technology – it stands to reason that those with VET qualifications have increasingly positive career prospects.
The Australian Jobs 2018 report recently found the largest employing industries in Australia to include retail trade, construction, professional, scientific and technical services, as well as education and training. According to the report, employment outcomes for graduates were and continue to be strong. Just last year, 77.7% of VET graduates were employed both full or part-time six months after completing their traineeship.
Myth: VET studies are for those who aren't smart enough for uni
The best part about VET studies is that they don’t discriminate. Anyone can study through the VET system – meaning students of any age, race or gender can feel comfortable doing something they enjoy. VET studies can be tailored to your student’s lives and can be undertaken in a full-time, part-time, flexible or online capacity, no matter where they live. VET is inclusive, non-judgemental and delivers real results. Now, who can argue with that?
In light of Australia’s ever-changing workforce and our knowledge of booming industries, there’s never been a better (or easier time) to make the most of the opportunities waiting just around the corner.