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How a VET course can help you with a career transition

By Ana Isabel Alonsagay | 16 August 2019


Vocational education and training (VET) has played a vital role in Australia’s education since the early 1990s. Developed to address economic and individual needs, the system has built upon the technical skills of workers from all industries, ensuring employment mobility. Since then, the sector has cultivated a total of over 4,000 training providers, four million students, and millions of program enrolments each year. 

Encompassing a wide range of industry-specific courses and nationally-recognised qualifications (from certificates to advanced diplomas), VET study has become a popular go-to for new graduates, returning workers, and those looking to advance in their current company.

However, VET study can also help the process of switching industries – building your skillset for a smooth and effective career change. So, if you’re yearning for a change of pace, SkillsTalk dive into the five main ways you’ll benefit from vocational training. 

How can a VET course help you with a career transition?

  1. It equips you with the specific skills you’ll need.
  2. It’ll give you a feel of the industry.
  3. It offers flexibility.
  4. It provides on-the-job work experience.
  5. It offers a pathway to higher education.

1. It equips you with the specific skills you’ll need.

Before making the leap, it helps to assess your current abilities, and what you’ll need to build on or acquire for your next field.

One of the greatest benefits of a VET course is its focus on the specific, technical skills of a chosen industry. In contrast to typical university studies, vocational courses fixate on refining occupational skills, rather than theory-based education. As a result, you’ll appear much more employable and work-ready for your next profession, raising your chances of getting hired for a role.  

Statistics show an overall positive employment outcome for VET graduates, with 48% reporting employment after their training, according to a 2018 report by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER). 

VET courses are especially helpful for hands-on trades that do not necessarily require higher education, such as those in retail, community services, logistics, and event management. 

2. It’ll give you a feel of the industry.

woman engineer on site

Given their shorter completion time, a VET course gives aspiring professionals a quick sample of the field they’re pursuing. This can help one determine whether the industry truly suits their interests, career goals, and lifestyle.

A former student of Upskilled, Joel Watson decided to take his love of animation and gaming to pursuing their online Certificate IV in Digital and Interactive Games (ICT40915). Initially chosen as a “quick” course for a field he found interesting, Watson discovered just how much he enjoyed the work – opting for a dual qualification with the Diploma of Information Technology (ICT50118). Soon after completing both, he decided to take on a full-on bachelor’s degree in the field. 

The varied, flexible range of course options under VET allows you to pursue industry skills at your own pace. Those who aren’t concrete in their choice to switch careers can decide on partial qualifications or short courses, helping them explore the field at surface level, before diving in with further training.

In Watson’s case, his pursuit of a small certificate qualification eventually lead to entire undergraduate degree program in information technology.

3. It offers flexibility.

Australia’s VET sector is not only accommodating in its selection of choices – but how they’re delivered, as well.

Flexible study options vary depending on the institution, though VET students generally have the advantage of tailoring their study schedule to suit their needs. Plenty of training providers offer part-time study, online courses, or evening classes for those busy with work, family, or personal commitments. Some may even offer “block study” – an option for students to cram more coursework into concentrated blocks of time, accelerating their qualification. 

Working towards a career change no longer requires dropping your current role to focus on further training. A VET course easily supports one’s need to upskill and maintain security in their current employment status – by offering adaptive modes of study.

Upskilled, for example, offers all its courses completely online; allowing students to study anytime, and anywhere that suits them best.

4. It provides on-the-job experience.

students studying a course

Along with its focus on the technical, employable skills of an occupation, VET study can also provide you with the hands-on field training you’ll need to get comfortable in your new industry. 

Apprenticeships and traineeships are primary features of the country’s VET system, bringing skills training and employment together under a contract between the apprentices, employers, and training providers. This offers students the opportunity for paid work, while simultaneously completing their qualification. 

Depending on your institution, these industry placements may be completed on a part-time basis. Once again, this allows one to explore their new career field – placing them in the actual work environment itself – while providing enough flexibility for other commitments. 

With a chance to practice your skills on the field, you’ll also gain valuable insight into the culture, social dynamics, and standards of your new industry.

5. It offers a pathway to higher education.

Some career changes prove easier than others. While many have a prime focus on skills and experience for hiring new workers, others require an undergraduate degree, at a minimum, to practice in the field. 

VET study can serve as a pathway to higher-level qualifications, including full degree programs from a tertiary institution. With its accessible form of education, students can easily start their journey with a certificate course, working their way up to a diploma, and finally, an all-out bachelor’s degree (as with the case of Joel Watson’s Upskilled experience). 

The transition from a VET course to higher education is commonly achieved through credit transfers – where the university (or college) acknowledges previous academic experience related to your chosen degree program. Some VET institutions may even have partnerships with select universities.

VET courses have proven incredibly effective in pursuing further education, with 85.4% of graduates reporting enrolment in further study after their training, according to a 2018 NCVER report. 

Is it time for a change?

Career changes are a common practice among Australian workers; in fact, a recent Hays survey reveals that 40% of the nation’s employees plan to look for a new job this year. Transitions to new industries needn’t be difficult – with all the training benefits VET has to offer, you can now hone the specific skills required to gain employment in any field (and at your own pace, too).

Upskilled offers over 80 qualifications in nearly every industry, ranging from community services to information technology. You can easily find a course to suit your needs and schedule, with flexible online delivery to keep you in control of your studies. They also have partnership agreements with universities such as Flinders University, Southern Cross University, and La Trobe University.

Enquire today to discover the ideal course for you. 
 

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