Does your child have an interest in gaining a vocational qualification either alongside, or instead of, a more ‘traditional’ path?

A vocational qualification can open up post-school options and accelerate career pathways.

And statistics show Queensland high school students are embracing real-world skills training, with almost two-thirds of the graduating class of 2020 finishing with an industry-recognised qualification.

Research also shows that parents remain the number one sounding board for students when it comes to seeking advice about careers planning.

So where can families start the search for information?

Your child’s school is the best first step.

In Queensland’s independent schooling sector, 152 schools offer vocational education and training (VET) to students through providers such as TAFE Queensland, Private Registered Training Organisations (RTOs), school RTOs and/or school-based traineeships or apprenticeships (SATs). 

Independent Schools Queensland has compiled a range of stories from the sector to mark National Skills Week (23-29 August).

These stories celebrate the role dedicated school career and training staff play in supporting students to identify and pursue their goals, as well as training and workplace successes achieved by students.   

ISQ Chief Executive Officer Chris Mountford [pictured] said Queensland had a strong record of VET participation in schools.  

“In addition to specific VET pathways, Queensland senior students can also include vocational qualifications in their subject loads. Under Queensland’s new senior schooling and tertiary entrance system, Year 12s can count a completed Certificate III or higher towards their Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) for university entry,” he said.  

“In 2020, 11.4% of Queensland’s first cohort of ATAR-eligible Year 12s completed four general subjects and one eligible VET qualification.”  

According to the Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre 2020 ATAR Report, the most frequently completed VET qualifications at each level included the Certificate III in Fitness, Certificate IV in Crime and Justice Studies and the Diploma of Business. 

Students can also undertake school-based apprenticeships and traineeships (SATs) as part of their secondary schooling, allowing them to earn a wage, train with an employer and work towards a nationally accredited qualification.  

In 2020, about 12% of Queensland Year 12s were completing a SAT or had completed a traineeship by the end of their studies.  

Mr Mountford said in 2020, 1,415 independent school students commenced a SAT, with funded SAT commencements in Semester 1, 2021 up 30%.  

“Some of the most popular qualifications include the Certificate III in fields such as Electrotechnology Electrician, Early Childhood Education and Care, Business and Carpentry.”  

Vocational information online

There’s an abundance of information online about vocational pathways.

The National Skills Week website contains lots of great information for parents and students. The article: ‘Parents may want to re-think their career advice to high school leavers, here’s why‘ contains some good myth busters about a VET pathway. Their Useful Links page provides more research options.

The Australian Parents Council has developed a series of videos for families which include advice for parents on talking to their child about vocational education and training options.

On Thursday 26 August at 7.30pm, the APC will be live streaming a webinar on their Facebook page: ‘How to help your child find VET opportunities‘.

The Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority has a list of useful websites for families researching career pathways and apprenticeships.