In Australia, after people complete their compulsory schooling, their main choices for obtaining core industry competencies are vocational education and training (VET) and higher education. There are over 4,400 training providers in Australia. 1.7 million students are enrolled in the VET system, compared with 950,000 in the higher education system.
The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) specifies the standards for educational qualifications in Australia across both VET and higher education providers. The two sectors form a continuum, with VET at the lower end and higher education at the higher.
VET courses are short, practical and delivered by a college or training organisation at a certificate to diploma level. Higher education courses take three years or more, are academic in nature and are delivered by a university at degree level and above.
Vocational Education Training (VET)
VET provides skills and qualifications for all types of employment, except for those jobs which require a university degree. Many people with university qualifications, like degrees, also undertake VET to obtain specific skills via continuing professional development (CPD) schemes. VET offers various qualifications including certificates I, II, III and IV, diploma, advanced diploma and certificate in a wide range of vocational topics. VET is provided through state, territory and federal goverments, along with industry, public and private training providers. These organisations work together to provide nationally consistent training across Australia. Various state-administered institutes of technical and further education (TAFE) across Australia provide the majority of VET in Australia. VET is also provided by many privately operated registered training organisations (RTOs). VET is delivered by classroom, workplace, correspondence, community venues and the internet (e.g. augmented reality) using various methods to meet industry and individual needs.
Apprenticeships and traineeships are a notable feature of Australia’s VET system. They bring together training and employment under a legal contract between the apprentices and trainees, training providers (such as TAFE) and employers. Apprentices and trainees receive a training wage which increases as they progress. Group Training Organisations like PIIP can employ the apprentice or trainee and place them with a suitable employer.
Higher Education Training
In Australia, universities are self-accrediting institutions and each university has its own establishment legislation (generally state and territory legislation) and receive the vast majority of their public funding from the government. There are 43 universities in Australia. A range of delivery methods are offered to provide training solutions, including instructor led training, e-learning and seminar training. The higher education system offers various qualifications including bachelor degrees, honours, graduate certificates, graduate diplomas, masters degrees and doctoral degrees.