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'VET's your best bet' - Advertiser, Adelaide


29 April 2017  

Run a rule over your VET options, writes Lauren Ahwan.  

SCHOOL students are urged to obtain a vocational qualification be fore they graduate to tertiary study. Regardless of whether the student wants to continue with further vocational education or pursue a university pathway, holding a VET qualification can significantly affect their future career success, says TAFE education and training director Lee Russell.

"(Schools) used to only look at a VET option for some students but now they're looking for VET options for all students," Russell says. "Many schools now want their students to graduate with at least one VET qualification."

Russell says the workplace exposure that comes through VET is unrivalled in its ability to influence career choices.

For example, a student who wants to work in the legal profession could undertake a VET qualification in justice studies to see whether the career is right for them.

Without VET, the student could spend several years learning law theory at university only to discover in their first job that it is not what they expected, Russell says.

"Even students who you would think would be (seeking the) more traditional OP (overall position, or ATAR, to apply to university) are picking up VET courses," she says.

"One of the reasons they're doing that is to think about their career options (and) get some exposure to occupations, at the same time as getting points towards their Certificate of Education."

A VET qualification also enables university students to find part-time work in their area of interest while continuing their study, providing a further headstart on their career.

Nicholas Wyman, chief executive of apprenticeship recruitment agency WPC Group, believes a VET qualification is a "good taster" for education and career pathways and says there has been a resurgence in technical schools specialising in pre-apprentice trades for Year 11 and 12 students.

But he warns students who complete a VET qualification at school can be restricted from receiving government funding for further study, unless it is for qualifications at a higher level than they already hold.

"I think young Australians should try out options," Wyman says.

"Often parents steer students down particular pathways and young people haven't had a chance to try other things."

Westminster School Year 12 student Thomas Raptis has already completed a Certificate II in Construction Pathways.

While he is still debating whether to seek a construction apprenticeship or go to university next year, he believes his VET studies will be beneficial.

"Not only did I learn how to plan and construct, I also learned organisational and communication skills as part of the problem," Raptis says.

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