Country Education Foundation of Australia (CEF) is indiscriminate in funding support offered young students seeking out further education. This means we provide education grants to Vocational Education and Training (VET) students just as openly as to those enrolled in a higher education course at a university.
Vocational education and training (VET) education is no longer seen as the poor cousin to university education. Even Prime Minister Scott Morrison stated lately that ‘TAFE is as good as uni’.
New research shows VET education can offer young Australians better salaries and stronger employment opportunities longer term in specific industries.
The report published by Grattan Institute earlier this month says VET studies in construction, engineering and commerce “typically lead to higher lifetime incomes than many low-ATAR university graduates are likely to earn”.
This was found to be especially true for men.
“For the most common Certificate III qualifications, nearly 80 per cent of the men aged 20-24 who completed in 2018 have full-time work, and nearly 90 per cent have received job-related benefits: they got a job, promotion or pay rise.”
Often a graduate of an engineering or construction apprenticeship goes on to run their own business, employing people and reaping the rewards of self-employment.
Download the full report here.
The (lack of) provision of practical workplace skills has often had a question mark aligned with university education as well as the financial costs.
And what about the prestige of a university education, utilising the latest and greatest technologies that the jobs of tomorrow will heavily be relying on?
Anecdotal evidence from regional CEF footprints shows a strong contingent of young students looking to pursue VET education (regardless of whether they’re supported by our organisation with this).
CEF of Cowra is one foundation who have recognised this in their area.
Past TAFE teacher and Cowra committee member, Sally Delaney sees a shift in perspectives on TAFE education.
“It’s certainly an interesting space,” she said.
“These days, you never know where educations will lead, or the number of changes a young person will go through in their lifetime.”
The Cowra committee recognised the power of TAFE in Central West NSW, with nine young apprentices awarded education grants this year.
“I’m amazed that there are well over a hundred trainees and apprenticeships in the Cowra area,” Ms Delaney said.
“[Support for VET] is a fabulous reflection of the new young voices on our committee too.”
While university is a great pathway for the majority of CEF students, success does depend on the course chosen, and the level of industry exposure.
We encourage students to consult with careers advisers as well as family/carers to work out what education path may be best when considering longer term.