“Vocational Education & Training is often regarded as a lower class education yet it was most likely VET trained workers that built this ABC studio, set up your mics and are operating these cameras. What is the government doing to give VET the respect that it deserves?”

That is the question that Newman Senior Technical College student Harry Hanley put to the Minister for Education & Training, Simon Birmingham on The ABC’s  Q and A School Special on Monday  Night.

Nine students from Newman Senior Technical College were selected to join the QandA audience at ABC Ultimo Studios Monday November 6 for the NSW QandA School Special.

The panel comprised of Simon Birmingham, Minister for Education; Tanya Plibersek, Deputy Opposition Leader; Geordie Brown, Oxley High School, Tamworth; Nadia Homem, Burwood Girls High School; Arthur Lim, Moorebank High School; and Lauren McGrath-Wild, Presbyterian Ladies’ College, Sydney.

Simon Birmingham responded to Harry’s question by stating some of the positives of VET pathways.

“If you pursue a vocational education pathway, particularly a traditional trades-based apprenticeship, your employment likelihood, if you complete that apprenticeship, is better than if you’ve gone to university. Your income is usually better at that stage than a starting graduate. Certainly, for many professions or disciplines, an apprentice will go on to have better incomes than some university graduates. The likelihood of you being self-employed, owning your own business, all of those sorts of things, are also greater. So there’s really a challenge there for us to make sure that people truly understand the benefits of thinking about vocational pathways”.  Senator Simon Birmingham stated.