Finally, a great news story for the Vocational Education and Training (VET) Sector, with really promising statistics coming out of the Australian Jobs Report. Out of the shadows of the much-publicised VET Fee Help debacle, shines a radiant light, that light is the job outcomes for VET graduates. The report compares the job outcomes for University Bachelor Degree graduates to Vocational Education Qualification graduates. The interesting point to note is that VET graduates outperformed their University graduating peers on multiple fronts.
With such strong performance from VET, I think we need to question the commonly held perception that a University degree will provide a better employment outcome than a VET course. These report figures dispel the myth of VET being a low paid career path with poor employment outcomes. They demonstrate that the VET sector remains strong, provides real work outcomes for graduates, and delivers much-needed skills to industries that rely on them to maintain productivity.
VET Has The Highest Starting Salaries for Graduates
The stats are really promising for VET when comparing salaries for the highest paid graduates from both sectors (six months after completing studies). The myskills.gov.au website shows that Diploma of Project Management graduates started work with an average salary of $88,700. In Comparison, the Australian Jobs 2016 Report shows that the highest average starting salary for the University sector was Dentistry graduates at $80,000.
VET Average Graduating Salaries
According to the Australian Jobs 2016 report, the average annual salary for a VET graduates across all age groups working full-time after training was $56,900. In contrast, the median annual starting salary for Bachelor graduates in their first job, under 25 years, was $54,000. These salary figures are really promising and show that vocational skills are in demand and valued by employers.
Average Employment Outcomes for VET vs University Graduates
The Australia Jobs Report further shows that VET is leading the way in delivering jobs for graduates. In 2015, the percentage of graduates employed (full-time or part-time) after completing their studies were:
84.1% graduates who undertook apprenticeship or traineeship six months after completing training
74.2% of VET graduates were employed six months after completing training
67.4% of bachelor degree within four months of completing their studies.
These VET job results are a testimony to the integral role VET plays in delivering skills required by industry. Not all qualifications deliver the same employment outcomes though. Cert IV and Diploma qualifications stood above the rest, with the percentage of graduates achieving Employment outcomes (six months after graduation) being:
Diploma or higher VET qualification (78.7% were employed)
Certificate IV (80.6%)
Certificate III (74.7%)
Certificate II (55.6%)
Certificate I (47.0%).
An Increase in Female Participation in VET
There is great news for female participation in VET, with the Australia Jobs 2016 report showing that between 2005 and 2015, the proportion of females with VET qualifications at the certificate III or higher level rose from 20 to 27%. Hopefully, we can see this trend continue in coming years, with even more women represented in VET.
These extremely solid VET job outcome figures show that VET is clearly outperforming University when it comes to graduates finding jobs. They call into question the beliefs of many, that University is the BEST option if you want to get a well-paid job or career. I know I was surprised to see these figures, and I think that many parents may also be quite surprised too. With the 2016 figures coming out in the next few months, it will be interesting to see if these results are still continuing. My predictions are that we will continue to see solid job outcomes delivered by the VET sector in the years to come!