Why More and More Australians Are Choosing Vocational Education

Vocational courses, offered through the Vocational and Education Training (TAFE) system, are becoming a popular choice for Australians looking for more job security in the wake of COIVD-19. The job landscape is shifting rapidly, and as 62 percent of top-earning occupations require a VET pathway, an increasing number of Australians are signing up for vocational courses.

“Around 4.2 million Australians last year undertook vocational education in its varying forms and around one million went to university,” Minister for Employment Michaelia Cash said in an interview with SBS News. “So for anyone out there saying ‘why should I actually go into VET?’ that’s a pretty good reason why.”

She added that COVID-19 has motivated workers to ensure that the skills they have are what employers really want.

“As the economy reopens, a lot of these people will transfer back into the workforce but there are also going to be a lot of people whose job is no longer there.”

VET courses can help the latter group of Australians re-skill in order to find employment as soon as possible.

What occupations are in demand in the VET sector?

The following VET occupations have been ranked highest in-demand in Australia’s job market:

1. Child carers

Child care workers look after children when their parents or primary caregivers are not available. Duties include feeding, bathing, clothing, supervising playtime, scheduling nap times, and educating if the job calls for it.

2. Retail sales assistants

Retail sales assistants assist with store deliveries, process customer transactions, handle complaints or forward issues to the manager on duty, greet and serve customers as they enter the store, refill supplies on the shelves, and assist customers as they shop.

3. Receptionists

Receptionists greet clients, answer the phone, take messages, schedule meetings, give general information to returning clients and interested prospects, and strive to make a good first impression as they are often what people see first about the business.

4. Truck drivers

Truck drivers not only transport cargo from one location to another, but also inspect cargo to ensure it is safe, perform basic and routine vehicle maintenance checks, perform mechanical checks to ensure the vehicle is in proper working conditions, obtain signed receipts of delivery for transported goods, and other related duties.

5. Managers

Managers supervise staff and ensure that project goals are being met and intended outcomes delivered on schedule. They should have good soft skills, organizational ability, and be able to balance multiple tasks simultaneously.

6. Sales representatives

Sales representatives sell products, goods, and services to clients. They work to find new sales leads through cold calling, marketing, client referrals, or business directories. They need good communication skills, flexibility, and persistence.

7. Dental assistants

Dental assistants perform administrative tasks, prepare exam areas, tidy up after procedures, sterilize equipment, operate equipment, talk with patients before they see a dentist, and assist with surgical procedures like fillings, crowns, and extractions.

8. Metal fabricators and welders

Welders join metals together or use intense gas and heat to fill and repair holes in metal constructions. They work on industrial, manufacturing and construction projects and learn from over one hundred different welding methods to become highly skilled in their area of specialization.

9. Registered nurses

People who want to go into nursing often become RNs. RNs care for patients, observe and record their conditions, administer medications, managing intravenous (IV) lines, provide emotional support to patients and their families, advise patients on how to take their medication, and educate both patients and the public on how to manage medical conditions and wellness.

10. Aged and disabled carers

Aged care workers provide 24 hour personal care to people with high care needs. They support people at home, work in ageing support facilities, provide disability care, organize transport, and work with families to provide the best care possible for their loved one.

11. Metal fitters and machinists

Machinists and metal fitters fabricate metal and assemble structural frameworks and housings from metal materials. They know how to operate welding tools and specialize in areas such as diesel fitting, maintenance fitting, diesel and heavy earthmoving equipment, and plant mechanics.

12. Motor mechanics

Motor mechanics maintain equipment, repair or replace parts, perform maintenance checks, advise clients on any issues they might have, and inspect and test vehicles.

Although the nature of work is already changing due to COVID-19, these jobs will remain in demand as we learn to adapt and create safer working environments.

How to sign up for a VET course

Signing up for a VET or online course is simple. First, be sure you meet the requirements:

  • You’ve passed the baccalaureate or in some cases FP of higher grade.
  • You have an intermediate level of English, in some cases an IELTS or a TOEFL.
  • You have previous professional experience or a portfolio if your course requires it.

After all the boxes are checked, you can find a VET provider and sign up for a course online through their website. You can choose which degree track to complete, from Certificates I-IV to Diploma, Advanced Diploma, and Vocational Graduate Diploma.


Saga Briggs is an author at InformED. You can follow her on Twitter@sagamilena or read more of her writing here.

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