Two research papers, released today by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER), offer a valuable insight into students’ post-school aspirations for vocational education and training (VET).
The papers investigate the drivers influencing students’ thinking and behaviour, and awareness of career pathways.
Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills, Karen Andrews, said the reports, titled Choosing VET: investigating the aspirations of school students and In their words: student choice in training markets, confirm that VET is seen as a path of practical and hands-on learning, offering great opportunities and employment prospects.
“While students showed a strong interest in VET-related jobs, this was often not reflected in an interest in VET post-school pathways, revealing a misalignment between students’ occupational interests compared with their educational aspirations,” Minister Andrews said.
“It is concerning to see that some prospective students still hold preconceived ideas about VET, seeing it as an inferior career pathway to university. This is compounded by prospective students feeling they lack reliable, trustworthy and independent information on vocational education and training.”
Minister Andrews said the Government is working hard to improve the information available to students and break down misconceptions about the value of vocational education and training.
“VET provides an excellent career pathway with 78 per cent of graduates employed after training.” Minister Andrews said.
“The Government’s National Career Education Strategy, to be released later this year, will support school students to make informed study and career choices through improved quality and access to career, employment and further education and training information, strengthened school and employer collaboration and increased work experience opportunities.
“The My Skills website provides a central hub for information on courses and training providers, allowing job seekers, students and employers to find the training that best suits their needs. The website has had a steady 30 per cent growth in visits in the past two years and is on track for 2 million visits in 2017.
“We are further investing in My Skills to allow prospective students to easily compare providers and courses. With the support of state and territory governments, we are preparing to launch an RTO Dashboard in 2018 to enable consumers to use training provider quality and outcome information to inform their decisions about VET.
“I also encourage schools and students to utilise our online career education self-assessment tool on the Preparing Secondary Students for Work website to assist them to evaluate and improve their career education strategies.”
Minister Andrews said the Government is committed to raising the status of VET in Australia and in doing so encourage more school students to consider a VET pathway.
“Programs like the Australian Apprenticeship Ambassadors provide inspiration to students by highlighting real life apprenticeship and traineeship success stories,” Minister Andrews said.
Minister Andrews said the reports will assist teachers, schools and VET providers to better help students address any misunderstandings in their knowledge about VET.
“While the Government has an important role in the VET sector, schools and providers also have a significant role to play in providing advice to students and their families about the range of education choices that vocational training offers and where they might lead,” Minister Andrews said.
The two research reports and a summary Choosing VET: aspirations, intentions and choices are available at www.ncver.edu.au/publications.