What Is Vocational Education?

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Certificate IV

Let's take a quick look at exactly what vocational education is and what makes it so different from other education systems in Australia… (PS: This is one of those awesome blogs where you can watch the video or read, the content is pretty much the same!)  

The Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector in Australia used to be made up of eight public TAFE systems each run by their own state or territory governments, as well as a bunch of other industry and commercial vocational education providers. 

Now what this meant was there was absolutely no consistency in the training outcomes that were being delivered to people in different states or territories. Pure insanity, right? Clearly, we weren’t the only ones to this this because now vocational education is a national system where ALL states and territories deliver and assess consistent and nationally agreed content.

The Australian vocational education system has been designed to provide practical hands-on job-oriented training across almost every industry area. 

It's all about giving people the skills and knowledge they need to transition smoothly into the workplace when they complete their studies, which is possible because the skills and knowledge now taught and assessed were determined through close consultation with industry groups, to make sure they reflect current industry trends and expectations.

The vocational education system is “competency-based”

This differs from traditional forms of training and assessment commonly used in schools. In competency-based training and assessment, learners are taught a specific set of skills and knowledge and then assessed on their ability to demonstrate those skills to a predetermined standard.

Using a competency-based system means everybody has a fair and equal opportunity to attempt the assessment and demonstrate competence. You're not competing against anyone else and there is no such thing as a “pass” or “fail”, it’s “competent” or “not yet competent” at the time of assessment. This provides every learner with the opportunity to practice and then re-attempt any skill or knowledge they were “not yet competent” in the first time around.

Let's look at some of the key features of the national vocational education system: 

1. It's client-focused, which means that the needs of individuals and organisations can be catered to by contextualising (customising) the training content to meet the specific job role requirements.

2. The vocational education system is also “flexible” because the needs of individuals and organisations are considered. This can include things like the time frame and availability for the training and even the location and mode of delivery, which could include traditional face-to-face training, training in the workplace and even virtual training using a platform like Zoom or a combination.

3. “Units of Competency” within the vocational education system may be common to a number of different qualifications. This means that if you've done any courses that included units of competency you’ve already completed and have a certificate transcript for, these units can be “Credit Transferred” to other qualifications or skill sets. This can reduce the amount of learning and assessments required because you've already been deemed competent for these units. Yay for you!

In summary, vocational education and training is a national education system where outcomes are competency-based and focused on delivering skills and knowledge that have been determined through consultation with industry. The purpose of the VET system is to get people ready with the skills and knowledge that will allow them to transition smoothly into the workplace.

If a career as a Trainer in Vocational Education and Training space is something you're interested in, check out our courses or contact one of our course advisors to see just how you can get started.

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