July 20th, 2016

Recent employment trends reveal the need for the Industry to embrace mature aged students and workers, an increasing gap that Vocational Education and National Skills Week aim to remedy from August 29th to September 4th.

With the average Australian changing careers a few times in their lifetime, there has been a new surge of mature aged students looking for a fresh start in a different sector. For Kate Mills, a Services and Programs Officer with Corrective Services NSW, TAFE has provided her with multiple opportunities to challenge herself, extend her skill set, and become a qualified professional in nursing, aged care, and community services.

“None of this would have been possible were it not for my start with Port Macquarie TAFE,” Kate said to Port Macquarie News earlier this week. “I still stay in touch with my teachers at Port Macquarie TAFE, they provided me with a framework for lifelong learning.”

Mature aged students who choose TAFE become valuable members of the workforce because they bring years of lived-in knowledge and experience, which they can use as positive influence on fellow students and workers, contributing toward a more versatile team and a positive work culture. They are also proven to be committed workers, who are punctual and possess strong work ethic.

TAFE understands the conflicting demands placed on a mature aged students’ study time, often brought about by their lifestyle such as family, work and external commitments. Those that choose TAFE are eligible for flexibility in study options, are exposed to strong support networks, and are presented with a range of employment opportunities during, and post study, some of the many benefits of VET.

National Skills Week highlights the importance of VET to the public by helping people understand the valuable part it plays in shaping Australia’s varied workforce demographic, and providing career opportunities to all.

“National Skills Week reaches out to students of all ages, young and mature,” Kirstin Casey, General Manager at SkillsOne said. “It is time for people to understand that VET values and embraces mature aged students for their skillset, versatility, drive and professionalism.”

With VET concreting itself as an ideal study option for both younger students and mature aged students, Australian Apprenticeships Ambassador and 2015 Vocational Student of the Year Karen Rose reveals how VET allowed her to reach her full potential after she decided that she and her work team would pursue formal training in logistics.

“It means a lot to me, not only personally for the work I put in, but because the exposure has helped me promote the field of logistics,” Karen said.

Before commencing a Diploma of Logistics, Karen researched VET and the benefits it could provide to her and her team members. This came about during a time when her workplace was experiencing instability, and she desired to provide her colleagues with motivation and support.

“Completing the training kept us focused in a very turbulent and emotional time … I loved the flexibility the system could provide here in Gove, enabling us to tailor competencies and contextualise training to suit our needs,” Karen said.

“Our registered training organisation (RTO) had expert staff from whom we learnt a lot and, as a supervisor, I now feel confident that I’m across this area, including the legislation. We’re using the policies and procedures we wrote as part of the training, right now.”

Karen is thankful for the nationally recognised qualifications she obtained through VET because it assisted her work colleagues in quickly finding new jobs when it became necessary for them to be let go of. Her experience at the Australian Training Awards in 2015 further developed her understanding of the diverse career pathways and study options provided through VET.

For further information on Karen’s story or that of other Australian Training Awards Alumni and Australian Apprenticeships Ambassadors visit https://www.australiantrainingawards.gov.au and https://www.australianapprenticeships.gov.au/australian-apprenticeships-ambassadors-program

To find out about the many events taking place during National Skills Week, or to register an event visit https://www.nationalskillsweek.com.au/.

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