High salaries, better employment opportunities and a thirst for skills are driving an upswing in workers taking up vocational education and training. About 1.9 million people studied a vocational qualification in 2011, a 4.6 per cent increase on the previous year and the fourth consecutive year the number of people in vocational education and training (VET) has increased.
A new study from the Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Department has revealed that the average university graduate earns at least $3,500 less than someone with vocational training. The average bachelor-degree graduate earns $50,000 a year, compared to $53,200 for a Certificate III or IV graduate.
In 2011 a higher proportion of vocational education and training graduates (77.4 per cent) were in employment in comparison to bachelor degree graduates (76.6 per cent).
The demand for VET qualified people in mining in the resource sector across Queensland and Western Australia has pushed the average up, according to Australian Workplace Innovation and Social Research Centre executive director Professor John Sopehr who agrees that the previous issue of skills shortages is behind the current success of vocational workers.
Outside the trades, skills in management are in demand with most (408,800) vocational education and training students in 2011 studying a management or commerce qualification.