Why are VET courses popular?
VET courses are highly valued by students, parents and employers. They provide authentic, applied learning that is practical and work-based and helps students prepare for their transition to post-school work and further study. Students choose VET courses for a wide range of reasons.
Some may want to maximise their ATAR for university entrance; some may wish to gain a head start with their trade training while at school; and others wish to develop skills that are relevant to their personal interests.
Training Stories – MySkills Website (click to view video stories)
The Real Stories: Real Achievements series tells the stories of people who have secured their future through vocational education and training.
Ashleigh Taylor – Human Resources Administrator
Started a university degree after school but then decided a traineeship in Business Administration would give her the practical skills she needed to get ahead with her career.
Joshua Lodge – Process Chemist
Completed a Certificate IV in Laboratory techniques and plans to continue his studies at university to become an engineer.
Won the School based apprentice of the year award in 2013 and is now continuing his training as a diesel mechanic.
Is a Fitter and Machinist and talks about the importance of having a balance of academic and practical subjects while at school.
Click here for more stories.
What can I gain by doing a VET course?
- nationally recognised qualifications, at the level of Certificate I, Certificate II or Certificate III, within the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF)
- credit towards Stage 5, the RoSA or the Higher School Certificate
- experience in the workplace. Work placement is a mandatory component of most VET courses, enabling students to apply their classroom learning and to further develop their skills in a workplace context
- industry-specific technical skills that lead directly to employment or further study
- employability skills in communication, teamwork, problem-solving, initiative and enterprise, planning and organising, self-management, learning and technology skills.
Do VET courses count for the HSC?
Yes. All VET courses have to be delivered by a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) which can be a school, TAFE or private provider. VET courses delivered to secondary students have dual accreditation – they are nationally-recognised under the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) and accredited by the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA).
NESA has two categories of VET courses:
- Board Developed Courses (also called Industry Curriculum Frameworks). These contribute towards the HSC and have an optional HSC exam for those who do a 240 hour course. One course (2 Units) can be counted towards your ATAR.
- Board Endorsed Courses. These contribute towards the RoSA or HSC but do not have an external exam for ATAR purposes.
What VET courses are available?
Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Sydney offer a wide range of VET courses. Click here to see which courses may be available at your school.
Externally-delivered VET (EVET)
If you’re interested in a course that is not run at your school, it may be possible to do an Externally-delivered VET (EVET) course at one of our Trade Training/Skills Centres or at a TAFE or Private Provider.
- Sydney Catholic Schools Trade Training/Skills Centres offer some courses part-time so that students from other schools can join the classes – usually one afternoon per week. Click here for details of these EVET courses.
- If you are interested in a course at TAFE (TVET) or with a private provider your school’s Careers Adviser or VET Coordinator will let you know what courses are available and how to apply.
All students attending externally-delivered VET courses must first get the approval of their school.
Can I do VET if I’m planning to go to uni?
Yes. Many students aiming for university undertake a VET course for their HSC and can achieve excellent results in their VET course examination. The Universities Admissions Centre (UAC) reports each year on the results and ATARs achieved in each of the HSC exams. The table below shows results for students undertaking some of the VET course exams in 2016.
|Course||Highest ATAR||Course||Highest ATAR|
|Business Services||98.60||Human Services||98.55|
(Source: Report on the Scaling of the 2016 NSW Higher School Certificate, University Admissions Centre)
Most universities also provide alternative entry pathways. Many students who follow a trade or vocational pathway after school gain valuable skills and experience that provide a practical foundation when they then go on to further study at university.
What if I want to start a trade as well as get the HSC?
Many schools offer students the option to start a school-based apprenticeship or traineeship (SBATs). Click here for more information.
Sydney Catholic Schools also has a network of Trade Training/Skills Centres with specialised programs, timetables and support services to help students get a head start with their trade or career. These are:
- Southern Cross Catholic Vocational College, Burwood
- Saint Yon Trade Training Centre, at LaSalle Catholic College Bankstown
- St Joseph Trades Skills Centre, at Good Samaritan Catholic College Hinchinbrook
- Ngalangiil Ngarandhii Trade Training Centre, at Champagnat Catholic College Pagewood
Click here for more information on Sydney Catholic Schools Trade Training/Skills Centres.
What about students with special education needs?
When making subject choices, students always need to choose courses that meet their needs, interests and abilities. Students with diverse learning needs often benefit from VET courses which offer a blend of theory and practical work. The “hands on” approach to learning and the opportunity to do work placements provide skills and experiences that help students to transition to work or study after school.
Can students in Years 9 and 10 do VET courses?
Yes. It is possible for students in Stage 5 (Years 9 and 10) to access VET courses through either of two curriculum pathways:
- Stage 5 Board Endorsed VET courses, or
- Early commencement of Stage 6 VET courses.
For students in Year 10, early commencement of Stage 6 VET means they are actually starting one of their HSC subjects. They can finish this at the end of Year 11 and sit the exam if desired. It might also be possible to do a specialisation course in Year 12 and finish school with higher level qualifications. If you’re thinking about VET in Stage 5, it’s important to discuss this with your school to ensure you make the best choice for your studies. Options for Year 10 students can include:
- commence a school-based apprenticeship or traineeship
- if available, join a VET course offered at your school
- do a part-time external course offered at one of our Trade Training/Skills Centres.
- undertake an external course at TAFE or a Private Provide