There are quite a lot of myths and misconceptions around Vocational Education and Training (VET) which has resulted in students growing up thinking that going to university is the only way they can make it big in life. In this article, we are going to decode and bust 5 of these myths and misconceptions so that you can make informed decisions based on facts.
Myth 1: VET is for people who want to do trade work
There is a misconception that VET is just for trades but this couldn’t be further from the truth. You may already know that apprenticeships and traineeships are available in trades like carpentry, bricklaying, welding but did you know that vocational qualifications are also available in areas like business, graphic design, horticulture, fashion design and web development? In fact, there are over 500 vocations to choose from so choice is something you will never be limited on. While some courses are offered both at the vocational level and university level, you will benefit from the hands-on experience gained through vocational training.
Myth 2: VET graduates earn low wages
Let’s be honest. This is the part you have been waiting for. 1 in 5 Australians believe that a University degree will lead to a better paying job. However, those who graduate from a VET course earn more than university graduates. This doesn’t mean you should not pursue university or drop out if you are already enrolled. It just means VET graduates have just as much a good chance if not better as university students when it comes to earning a high salary. Let us give you a few examples. The median full-time salary of a student who graduates from a VET course is $56,000 a year while a university graduate with a Bachelor’s degree earns $54,000 a year.
Similarly, the highest earning salary for a VET qualification is $85,400 for a Certificate IV in Hazardous Areas – Electrical while the highest starting salary for a degree holder is $80,000 for Bachelor of Dentistry.
While on the topic of money, VET graduates start earning well before degree holders. VET qualifications take anywhere between 6 months to 2 years while a university qualification takes 3 to 5 years giving VET graduates to enter the workforce and reap the benefits sooner.
Myth 3: VET graduates are not employed quickly
This is another misconception. In fact, in Australia, 78% of those who complete a VET course find employment immediately after completing their training. 82% of VET graduates who complete an apprenticeship or traineeship are employed after training. On the other hand, 69% of university graduates with a Bachelor’s degree are employed after completing their qualifications. The reason for this disparity comes down to the course structure. Since VET qualifications emphasise gaining practical skills, VET graduates and apprentices will have the necessary skills to perform real life tasks thus, making them more attractive to employers. On the other hand, most university students need to complete an internship or volunteer to gain experience and practical skills.
Myth 4: VET teaching staff are not as good as those at universities
We have to admit that this myth came as a surprise even to us but to clarify, teachers of VET courses are required to have formal qualifications to be able to teach and also be qualified in the relevant profession. Most teachers of VET courses have years of industry experience under their belt or work in the industry simultaneously while teaching. So, rest assured, teachers of VET courses are just as qualified and apt for the job as university teaching staff.
Myth 5: VET is a ‘thing of the past’
Many Australians believe that VET courses are no longer relevant in the global competitive market as university degrees are. VET delivers new qualifications in fast growing industries such as biotechnology, cyber security, robotic engineering and counter terrorism and intelligence. VET currently provides training courses for 9 out of 10 future professions that are predicted to have the highest growth. So, don’t let anyone fool you into thinking that VET is a thing of the past.
Historically, university qualifications are usually seen as more prestigious than VET qualifications. However, times are changing with employers placing more value on the practical capabilities of their employees rather than which qualifications they have got or which university they have attended. Now that we have busted the common myths and misconceptions about Vocational Education & Training, it is time to make an informed decision about your career choices.
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