August 12th, 2016

The Group of Eight, made up of eight of Australia’s highest ranked research universities, has backed Vocational Education and pointed out the need for more students to choose a vocational training pathway rather than feel pressured to enter university if it is not best suited to their aspirations and career goals. Public and Industry discussions on this topic are predicted to continue well into August and September, a time when National Skills Week will bring greater understanding to why a shift in thinking needs to occur.

CEO of TAFE Queensland Jodi Schmidt believes that Australians are too often being pressured to choose a study avenue based on expectations placed on them, rather than their own personal preference. When talking to The Australian this week, Jodi said, “we have lost sight of the need for skilling and the balance between higher education and vocational skills, and where they fit in the economy.”

Jodi also revealed that although twenty-five to thirty percent of the workforce is composed of people from higher education studies, the system is “churning out forty percent of the workforce with degrees,” revealing a gap between demand and supply. Vicki Thompson from the Go8 mirrors these views and advocates that Vocational Education needs to stop being a last resort, and more of a preference.

Jodi accounts this detrimental trend to the lack of flexibility in the current system, which Vocational Education is rising above. “We have grown in aspiration as a country and are starting to indicate to individuals that success comes with the attainment of certain qualifications,” she said to The Australian. “But we are seeing more students leaving university with an unclear pathway to employment.”

According to General Manager at SkillsOne Kirstin Casey, Vocational Education’s ability to provide students with the necessary support and resources to ensure them for a smooth transition into their sector is what sets Vocational Education apart from other training systems.

“Vocational Education presents many benefits that will guide students into secured employment, especially in sectors in need of skilled professionals. The VET system is in-tune with current Industry demands, and aims to shape students into employable and qualified workers that are able to find a job very soon after graduating,” Kirstin said.

Important ways that VET achieves these goals is by creating relationships with Industry professionals and businesses so that students can connect with them, gain work experience with them, and have greater chance of gaining employment post study, or an Australian Apprenticeship while studying.

During a TAFE Australia Civil Colleges Launch, Minister for Skills John Barilaro said, “for the providers like TAFE, as the publicly owned provider in NSW, it is important to look to partnerships in how best we give our young people the best training opportunity that actually leads to a job.” National Skills Week launching on August 24th at The Queen Victoria Markets in Melbourne will further extend this concept, bringing greater understanding to the many benefits of VET that ensure people for a secure job, and a successful career pathway.

Unsure of where her place rested in the Australian workforce, Australian Training Award’s 2013 Australian Apprentice of the Year Finalist Morgan Clementson took up VET study, a choice that would lead her toward a dream career. The Rockdale resident from Sydney completed a Certificate III in Retail Baking (Bread) and a Certificate III in Retail Baking (Cake and Pastry) through TAFE NSW – Illawarra Institute.

“I believe life is not about finding yourself, it’s about creating yourself. By doing an Australian Apprenticeship, you are not only earning and learning, you are creating your future,” Morgan said.

Morgan’s studies saw her gain work experience across a number of reputable and Industry leading businesses such as Woolworths, Mick’s Bakehouse, Waminda Bakery and Jones The Grocer, all made possible through an Australian Apprenticeship that she picked up while studying. She believes that this opportunity provided by VET allowed her to make informed decisions and build Industry connections.

“Starting my apprenticeship gave me discipline, actually going to TAFE on time, also wearing uniform and getting homework again in my mid-twenties! It gave me an understanding that if I really wanted to succeed I had to focus,” Morgan said.

Focus Morgan did, enough to land her dream job in Belgium, otherwise known as the world’s oyster of patisseries and baking where she now works as an International Démonstrateur/Technical Advisor. She accounts her successes to VET, saying how it furthered her in her networking skills and her professional way of life.

For further information on Morgan’s story or that of other Australian Training Awards Alumni and Australian Apprenticeships Ambassadors visit and

Join us during National Skills Week and celebrate how VET can assist in leading all Australians onto a secure and successful career path, in a sector that meets their passions. Organise an event, or take part in the many events that can be found on the National Skills Week website:

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