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Don’t be a university drop out – get a highly paid job with your TAFE trade instead!

Thursday, 15 August 2019

With a newly released report comparing the risks and rewards of vocational education and higher education doing the rounds of the Internet, what does this mean for young people who are looking forward to their options after secondary college.

The research paints yet another picture of comparison between university and Vocational Education and Training (TAFE). So what should a young person choose – TAFE or uni?

“Vocational diplomas in construction, engineering, and commerce typically lead to higher lifetime incomes than many low-ATAR university graduates are likely to earn”, states the recently released report from The Grattan Institute.

The report also raises concerns that students are still being encouraged to overlook potentially better-paid vocational education options and are pushed instead to enrol in higher education.

Essentially, this means that students who are looking at achieving a lower school result and therefore a lower ATAR score would be much better off doing vocational education - a trade or a qualification at TAFE.

For example, for young people with lower ATAR scores, trade options such as engineering or building and construction at TAFE will give them a much better and quicker return on their investment than an unfinished university degree that includes a HECS debt.  

Another recent report by the Productivity Commission found that the current system that offers extra places at university is leading to higher dropout rates. More young students with lower ATARs are enrolling in university who would not have had access previously. Students with lower ATARs typically have lower literacy and numeracy on average, meaning they are often entering university ill-prepared for the study ahead of them. Which then in turn leads to them dropping out before they complete a qualification, but still having a debt for the partially-completed study.

So, if young people are practical learners and not academically inclined, the strong message is to take up a TAFE qualification instead. By all means keep university on the list if that is what the career dream includes, or what the parents want, but consider a ‘TAFE to uni’ pathway as the way to success. This is a far better way to university for young people who are not sure about their choices, or who are unsure of whether their results are good enough for what they want to do. And with national skills shortages predicted to soon become more critical, a trades career can be a more lucrative and fulfilling option if the trade is in an area of high demand. 

By attending TAFE first and completing a qualification that gives them hands-on practical experience in their chosen industry, young people can hit the job market well in front of the competition.

The Wodonga Skills and Jobs Centre is available for young people and their parents to access for free. Services include careers guidance and jobs advice that is free and impartial. For an appointment, call the friendly team on 1300 698 233 to book in a time to chat to the qualified careers counsellors.





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