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Higher Education vs. VET Apprenticeship Pathways

Why are schools focusing on higher education, over the promotion of pathways to a career in apprenticeships and trades system? Are they really giving you all the information you need to plan your future?

Have you put any thought into what your career pathway will be like when you leave school? Considering an apprenticeship could be the smartest decision you make!

Apprenticeship numbers, both the uptake and completion, have been in steady decline over the past few years, in contrast to an increase in both university participation rates, and the direct entry of school leavers into the labour force. This decline is contributing to a deficit in a crucial area of Australia’s workforce with some business sectors warning of a skills shortage.

Various factors have been blamed for this decline, including the uncapping of university placements, a tough economic climate, and a lack of pre-apprenticeship pathways and career advice for school leavers. Parents also play a role, typically telling their children they need to go to university if they want to be successful—but have they really considered the advice they’re giving? In reality, as the number of university graduates overtakes the jobs available for them, there are an increasing number of uni grads returning to school for vocational training, as they find a university degree no longer guarantees employment or increased earning potential.

As a school leaver, it’s important you recognise traineeships and apprenticeships are just as viable an option for your future career path as continuing with higher education.  In fact, an apprenticeship may have greater value financially, and can set you up with practical skills for life. Some benefits of taking up an Apprenticeship:

  • Work in your chosen field immediately – no need to wait for qualifications
  • Start earning now – you needn’t wait from three to seven years, to collect a pay check
  • Trades are well remunerated, with large increases in annual earnings being reported
  • Jobs growth in the Trades sector is only tipped to go up, providing job security
  • Possibility to learn from an expert in your chosen field
  • Potentially have the skills to find work anywhere around the world
  • Consider the way in which you learn. Learning by ‘doing’ suits many people better than the theoretical study of conventional education
  • Avoid a HECS debt by taking on a trade

Higher education is theory driven, focusing on learning and research, and it’s not always clear where a university will lead in terms of securing a certain job. An apprenticeship’s primary focus is in providing you with the specific skills needed for a specific career, i.e. plumber, electrician, carpenter, chef, hairdresser—there are many options! This practical training will provide you with employable skills in the industry of your choice, making an apprenticeship a potentially great decision for a stable career path in the future.

Call us at Smart Employment Solutions today to arrange a consultation with one of our Employment Officers, and take the next step for your future!


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