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Australia’s vocational education & training (VET) sector continues to deliver excellent results and outcomes for its students, industry and the economy at large.
Yet, among the Australian public, perceptions surrounding vocational education continue to be widely out of step with the reality of the sector and its achievements.
Sandwiched between debates about university deregulation and private vs public school funding,vocational education all too often is relegated to forgotten child status, struggling to gain the media attention required for the public to understand VET’s unique abilities and ambitions. Further, the current overemphasis on academic and university pathways means VET pathways are often not given due consideration by high-school leavers. As such, public awareness and recognition of the crucial role that VET can play and is playing—in training the Australian workforce with the skills required to grasp future industry opportunities— is poor.
When compared with employment outcomes for university graduates, VET continues to produce superior results, and has proven itself to be a more flexible, accessible and adaptable platform for educating and skilling Australians than university education. Importantly, given the rising cost offormal education, VET is also a more cost effective training option for both businesses and individuals. If we are to ensure that young people, parents and educators are aware of the breadth and depth of opportunities available through VET programs and pathways, it is clear we need to raise the profile of VET and build community awareness of the employment and career opportunities vocational training can facilitate.
Using a range of local and international data sources as well as real-life success stories, this report addresses some of these pervasive and inaccurate perceptions about vocational education and, also, highlights the importance of including VET pathways in the overall discussion about our nation’s long-term educational strategies and employment solutions.