How to Choose a Vocational Training Course

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Yesterday marked the release of Australian students High School Certificate results! In light of all this, my attention has turned to careers. Thousands of students and mature age applicants around the country have now received their offers for the 2013 intake and are hopefully on their way to the career of their dreams.

However, for those out there planning on university, there are just as many, if not more, who will undertake a vocational training certification this year. After doing some research into Australian VET statistics, according to the Government, more than 50% of us will complete a vocational education and training course at some stage in our life.

Choosing a Vocational Training Course

Considering our population is on its way to 23 million, this figure is staggering to say the least! However, as I currently work within the vocational industry, one of the biggest questions I get asked is “what course is right for me?”

While there are a number of factors that come into play, in light of all of this I’ve put together a series of questions that will hopefully get you well on your way to starting that qualification!

Question 1: What Are Your Interests?

Sit down and genuinely think about what your interests are. At this stage of the game these interests do NOT need to directly relate to a career path.

This is a really important step that many people overlook in the pursuit of financial benefits. Realistically, you are going to enjoy and be most happiest doing what you love so be sure to carefully think about what that actually is!

For example, if you are interested in maths but spend a great deal of your time on computers (an enjoy this time spent on computers!) perhaps a qualification centered around the information technology industry or computer engineering field would be suited to you. Alternatively, if your interests lie in people and you thrive on being around others, perhaps a career in a carer profession, such as aged care or child care, may be more your thing!

Write down a list of your top interests and once you have decided on this proceed to ask yourself why? Has someone else prompted you to undertake the course, like parents, friends or a spouse? Alternatively, are you simply interested in the course because ‘everyone else is doing it’? Or, is it a genuine interest of yours and you can see yourself working within the profession in the short to medium term future?

Question 2: What Do You Hope To Achieve Though A Career?

Secondly, you must decide how you categorise “success”. Is it money? Is it owning houses, cars or other luxury items? Is it having free time? Is it enjoying your livelihood? Is it spending plenty of time with family and friends? Is it following your long-term dreams? Is it moving to the city or country side? Is it traveling or residing overseas?

Once you lay out what you hope to achieve within your career you can again narrow the courses available to you. However, in saying all of this your idea of success needs to pass a reality test. While you may hope to one day oversee the occupational health and safety of a huge corporation, this idea is probably not going to be achievable if you are living way out in the countryside – you get where I’m coming from?

Question 3: What Are Your Strengths and Weaknesses?

Thirdly, before choosing a vocational education and training course, you must assess both your strengths and weaknesses. I mean this in a sense of personality as well as interest in subject matter. For example if you don’t want to spend the large majority of your day surrounded by children, it’s probably best to rule out any Children’s Services qualifications. Another example is if you don’t enjoy computer work and want an out of office job, then avoid the Management/Financial Services/Business Administration type qualifications.

Alternatively, if you love teaching and education and enjoy a bit of reading, take a further look into an educational qualification like the Certificate IV in Training and Assessment. Or, if travel and new experiences are on your mind, why not do a TESOL course and head overseas?

Question 4: What are the Career Prospects?

This is another reality check. By now you should have narrowed your interests and course options down to one or two, or perhaps even a select few of interest. Now is the time to think about the career prospects attached! While it is evident a qualification like the Cert IV Training and Assessment is always in demand due to the huge requirement for trainers throughout Australia, perhaps a field like personal training may be more difficult to find a job in.

Of course these things are all dependent on a variety of factors including your previous experience, level of qualification and location – but its definitely something to think about!

I hope this has helped you all to get that step closer to your education dreams and goals

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