A PREVAILING “university or bust” mentality is guiding many young Australians away from vocational education pathways that could potentially prevent skills shortages, a new report reveals. The Perceptions Are Not Reality study, conducted by the not-for-profit Skilling Australia Foundation, surveyed 1000 families about their expectations for their child. Foundation chief executive Nicholas Wyman said the common belief among parents was that children needed to go to university if they wanted to have a successful career path.
“It really is a matter of chipping away at perceptions people have. There are parents out there who will say ‘this is all well and good but not for my kid’,” Mr Wyman said.
Business owners offering traineeships contacted Leader during our 5000 Jobs in 50 Days campaign last year, saying they were unable to fill apprenticeship positions and they were concerned students were being turned away from vocational training.
The Skilling Australia Foundation report highlighted that VET graduates had a higher employment rate (78 per cent) than university graduates (69 per cent). While there was a perception that VET led to lowerpaying jobs than university, the report showed the highest average starting salary for a VET qualification (Certificate IV in Hazardous Areas – Electrical at $85,400) was more than the highest starting salary with a Bachelor-level degree (dentistry at $80,000).
The Hazardous Areas certificate required electrician qualifications, and was an example of how VET could be a springboard to more training. Mr Wyman said while some jobs may “go the way of the dinosaur,” the world of work was leaning towards a “learning economy” that rewarded upskilling.
Minister for Skills and Training Gayle Tierney said TAFE and vocational education shouldn’t be playing “second fiddle” to university.
“We’re investing record amounts of money into TAFE to make sure every Victorian has access to high-quality, industry- linked training,” Ms Tierney said.
“TAFE isn’t just changing the lives of everyday Victorians– it’s also making sure industry has the skills it needs for the jobs of today and tomorrow.”