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What is Vocational Education and Training (VET)?

Vocational Education and Training, commonly known as VET, is a style of education which focuses on hands-on skills, practical knowledge and real world experience. VET can help you get ready for a rewarding job and career in a relatively short period of time.

You’ll do a combination of class based learning and hands-on learning in the workplace and closely simulated environments. For example, you might experience the job first-hand through work placement or as an apprentice or trainee.

VET courses are designed by industry experts, so you’ll be learning the latest and most relevant skills and knowledge. Courses are reviewed periodically to keep up with Victoria's work demands and skill shortages.

What can I study?

VET offers a broad range of areas you can study, for example:

  • aged care
  • building, construction and engineering
  • business, accounting and financial planning
  • counselling and mental health
  • disability support
  • early childhood education and care
  • education support
  • farming and agriculture
  • gardening and horticulture
  • health and community services
  • manufacturing
  • plumbing, electrical and electrotechnology services
  • retail, hospitality and food
  • technology, cybersecurity and networking
  • the arts
  • youth work.

You can search for VET courses on the Victorian Skills GatewayExternal Link .

Where can I study?

VET courses are offered by registered training organisations (RTOs) across regional and metropolitan Victoria. These include:

  • TAFEs, which offer a large range of courses across regional and metropolitan Victoria.
  • Private training providers, which are usually smaller than TAFEs and often offer courses for a specific industry.
  • Some Learn LocalsExternal Link , which are community based organisations that help adults with employment skills, vocational programs, and literacy and numeracy.

What level of qualification can I study?

You can study VET at the following levels:

  • Accredited short courses and skill sets
  • Certificates I, II, III and IV
  • Diplomas and Advanced Diplomas
  • Graduate Certificates and Graduate Diplomas (vocational)

You can find out more about qualification levels on the Australian Qualifications FrameworkExternal Link (AQF) website.

VET training courses delivered by RTOs are accredited and regulated under the AQF.

Completing a Certificate I level course or higher gives you a nationally recognised qualification. Short courses and skill sets are not qualifications, however you will receive a certificate of attainment on completion.

Is government funding available?

There are different government funding options available to help pay for your VET course if you meet the eligibility requirements. Find out more on the Victorian Skills GatewayExternal Link .

How can a VET course help me?

  • You can do VET subjects as part of your VCE or VCAL in years 11 and 12. These count towards your ATAR and give you credit towards TAFE and university courses.

    You can also do an apprenticeship or traineeship as part of your VCE or VCAL. You will need to balance your time between your workplace, attending classes through your training provider, and continuing your secondary studies.

    Note that as of 2023, VCAL will become the VCE Vocational MajorExternal Link .

  • VET courses are a practical way to prepare to re-enter the workforce after time away. Perhaps you have been on parenting leave, caring for a family member, or you are returning to part time work in your retirement.

    You can update your existing skills to meet current industry standards, and learn new processes and systems which have been introduced since you left. You may find a short course is enough to brush up on your skills and build your confidence to return to the workforce in a relatively short space of time.

  • VET courses are a popular way of rapidly learning new skills to make a new job a reality sooner. Many courses are offered part-time, and some through flexible or online learning. Check with your preferred training provider which options are available for your course of interest.

  • Some VET courses are specifically for people who are already working in the industry and want to improve or extend their existing skills. For example, a short VET course can help you learn new technology required for your job.

  • If you are facing redundancy, a VET course can help you learn new skills to find a new job. You may decide to further develop the skills you already have in your existing field, or you may change career direction altogether. Either way, VET will give you practical, industry standard skills to help increase your employability.

    Find out more on the Victorian Skills GatewayExternal Link .

  • Some VET courses can be a pathway to university courses. You may be able to use your VET course as Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) to reduce the length of your university course. Talk to your VET training provider and your university provider for more information.

What are apprenticeships and traineeships?

Apprenticeships and traineeships give you the opportunity to learn on the job in a real workplace while studying a VET course through a training provider. You earn a wage, and you can be full time or part time.

You can start an apprenticeship or traineeship at any stage of your career. On completion you’ll gain a nationally recognised qualification.

Find out more about apprenticeships and traineeships on the Victorian Skills GatewayExternal Link .

Can I get credit for my existing skills, experience and qualifications?

You can apply for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) to have your existing skills and experience, and any prior study, taken into account. This can reduce the number of units you need to do, so you can complete your course faster.

Find out more about RPL on the Victorian Skills GatewayExternal Link .

Reviewed 14 November 2022

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