Vocational Education and Training (VET) programs come from the VET sector, where they are taught by TAFE institutes and Registered Training Organisations (RTOs). In NSW, Vocational Education and Training (VET) studies are recognised as an important part of secondary education that assist students to develop practical skills for the workplace and further education and training.
The number of schools and students involved has increased in recent years, and most schools now offer some VET options to senior secondary students. One-third of students studying for their HSC undertake a VET course, allowing them to make a start on training for a career before they leave school while still completing their HSC.
The training teaches skills and knowledge needed in particular occupations and workplaces, and normally includes some workplace experience 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 an ATAR score (used for entrance to university). Of course, it is also possible for students to leave school and take VET certificates either full time or in combination with employment.
NSW students have access to two kinds of VET courses:
- Board Developed VET Courses (including Industry Curriculum Frameworks), which have optional exams and consequently may contribute towards a student's ATAR
- Board Endorsed Courses (generally locally designed courses delivered by schools or TAFE NSW and other Registered Training Organisations), which contribute towards a student's HSC but not their ATAR.
Industry Curriculum Frameworks are Board Developed Courses that involve mandatory work placements and lead to AQF certificates usually certificate II or III. Students who complete a 240-hour course in one of the Industry Curriculum Frameworks and sit for the HSC exam may have the course included in their ATAR calculation. There are 12 VET Industry Curriculum Frameworks available in the areas of automotive, business services, construction, electrotechnology, entertainment industry, hospitality, human services, information technology, metal and engineering, primary industries, retail services, and tourism and events.
Some schools begin offering VET courses to students as early as Year 9 as a strategy to increase student engagement, boost retention and encourage participation in education and training giving them the opportunity to undertake Stage 6 (Year 11 and 12) VET courses. This strategy may not be suitable for all schools or students, and it is more common for students to begin VET courses in Year 10.
An apprenticeship (or traineeship) is a combination of work and training that leads to a nationally recognised qualification. Young people now have the option of starting a part-time apprenticeship while still at school, which means they are both students and employees.
Students may also complete a school-based apprenticeship or traineeship as part of their HSC in Years 10, 11 and 12. These combine paid work, training and school, enabling students to undertake an industry-recognised AQF qualification while completing their HSC. Some apprenticeships and traineeships can contribute towards the ATAR.
Apprenticeships are available in most industries and work in the same way as VET studies leading to satisfactory completion of the HSC and sometimes contributing to an ATAR. For further information contact the Australian Apprenticeship Centre on 13 38 73 or visit www.australianapprenticeships.gov.au.