Vocational Education and Training (VET) programs come from the VET sector where they are taught by TAFE institutes and Registered Training Organisations (RTOs). Some schools are now also RTOs and offer VET programs in areas such as agriculture, retail, trades, engineering and hospitality, just to name a few.
The number of schools and students involved in VET programs has increased in recent years, and most schools now offer some VET options to senior secondary students. All VET training embedded in Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority (QCAA) subjects and school-based apprenticeships and traineeships count towards a VET qualification as well as the QCE; in effect, allowing students to mix general and vocational education, and make a start on training for a career before they leave school. An up-to-date list of QCE-recognised VET studies is available from the QCAA website.
The training teaches skills and knowledge needed in particular occupations and workplaces, and normally includes some structured workplace learning (or on-the-job training in the case of school-based apprenticeships and traineeships) that puts these into practice. As well as readying students for the workforce, VET programs can lead to further study, either in the VET sector (where students can gain credit for their VET certificate) or university, since results from some VET programs can be included in the calculation of their selection rank. Of course, it is also possible for students to leave school and take VET certificates either full time or in combination with employment.
VET subjects can be completed at schools registered as RTOs, as well as with RTOs partnered with the school or on their own with individual RTOs of their choosing.
An apprenticeship or traineeship is a combination of work and training that leads to a nationally recognised qualification. While apprentices are trained in skilled trades (such as plumbing or automotive mechanics) and become qualified tradespeople on completion, trainees are trained in a vocational area (such as office administration or hospitality) and receive a minimum of a certificate II qualification upon completion.
Senior students now have the option of starting a part-time apprenticeship or traineeship, working for an employer and training towards a recognised qualification while still at school. Through school-based apprenticeships and traineeships (SATs), young people can become both students and employees.
Apprentices and trainees divide their time between QCE studies and the work and training components of their program, completing on-the-job training in the workplace and off-the-job training at a supervising registered training organisation (SRTO).
SATs are available in a range of industries as a part of the QCE and work the same way as VET studies, leading to satisfactory completion and sometimes contributing to a selection rank. School-based apprentices (not trainees) cannot complete more than one-third of the units of competency within a qualification while enrolled at school. Each SAT has age restrictions, with entry generally restricted to those who are 16 years or over (or those who have completed Year 10), although students in Years 8 and 9 may be considered in exceptional circumstances. For further information contact the Australian Apprenticeship Centre on 13 38 73 or visit Australian Apprenticeships.