By William Cowie
VET in schools is a great education initiative in Australia. VET (in case you were wondering) stands for Vocational Education and Training. It’s NOT a veterinarian coming into your school, and you won’t get to help with sick animals (well, unless you take the Certificate II/III in Animal Studies or Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing…).
VET Training Courses in Schools
Vocational Education in schools is about students participating in vocational training courses as part of their senior secondary certificate. VET courses can provide students with credit towards nationally recognised VET qualifications within the Australian Qualifications Framework (the national policy for regulating qualifications in Australia). Vocational training is closely linked to the knowledge and skills required for specific job roles.
Vocational training in schools is distinct from a normal academic program; however a large part of the success of vocational education in schools has been the integration of VET courses with traditional academic studies. VET in schools is normally for year 10, 11 and 12 students and can provide you (if you’re in secondary school), or your child, with opportunities to:
- Develop industry specific skills while at school;
- Participate in work experience;
- Develop experience and understanding of the world of work;
- Gain credit towards or complete a nationally recognised VET qualification while also completing their senior secondary certificate qualification;
- Develop employability skills;
- Develop and improve interpersonal skills;
- Develop a stronger idea of which career pathway to plan for, and pursue.
Vocational education and training in schools is the place where work and study meets. Rather than being graded in VET courses, students must demonstrate that they are competent in a skill or area of knowledge to complete an assessment. VET in schools also offers a pathway into higher education; initial qualifications can be built on with higher level vocational courses. Some vocational courses are an entry point into university and you may find you can even get credit towards some university degrees, depending on the vocational qualifications you’ve already earned.
Vocational Trainers & Their Qualifications
Vocational trainers differ slightly from normal school teachers. Rather than doing a teaching degree, vocational trainers have to complete the Certificate IV in Training and Assessment in order to be qualified to teach vocational courses.
Trainers also need to hold the qualifications they teach – so to teach students the Certificate III in Children’s Services and Certificate III in Aged Care, the trainer must have completed those VET courses (or a higher level version of those VET courses) themselves. Trainers can often offer the benefits of having worked in the field they teach, before they chose to complete or use their Certificate IV in Training and Assessment and become a vocational trainer.
Have you considered taking VET courses at school?
VET courses are an excellent entry path into the world of work. If you’re planning to go straight into work after school, vocational education in schools is an opportunity to get a head start in the Certificate and Diploma qualifications you will likely need in your career.
Many VET courses and qualifications are now required by industry, either through legislation or through self-regulation. The Certificate IV in Training and Assessment is the prime example – it is the current regulatory requirement to work as a trainer in the vocational industry. Other courses like the Certificate III or Diploma in Children’s Services will be mandatory to work in child care from the start of 2014; while the Certificate III in Aged Care, or equivalent courses like the Certificate III in Home and Community Care, are highly desirable among employers in the aged care industry.
Even if you plan to head directly into university after high school, vocational qualifications can open up many more opportunities for working while you study. The work skills and experience you’ll develop can also be an asset when approaching employers. You can use VET courses as an opportunity to get some experience in the field you plan to study at university, so vocational education in schools can be a real asset when it comes to planning your career and education goals.
Get started in your VET course
If you think vocational education in schools could be the right move for you, talk to your school about your options. Each state and territory government also provides information about vocational training in schools in their jurisdiction. Good luck! Let us know how you go!
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