As the Vocational Education & Training (VET) in Schools sector grows, so does the number of institutions who are offering VET courses at their schools. However, in the context of Newman College, VET subject offerings are not an ‘add-on’ to an existing operation. It is central to what we do. A dedicated Careers Dept, Industry-standard facilities, broad VET curriculum offerings, timetabled workplacement program, industry-trained qualified teachers, Work Readiness programs, an Industry Advisory Board, a supportive employer community, etc, These are just some of the distinctive features that our College has developed, over the past 40 + years, that provide a vocational approach to the development of our young people, helping them become productive members of society, with confidence and self-respect that sets them up for success.
Principal Mark Nunan was recently asked the following questions regarding VET In Schools, to help the broader community understand the benefits of commencing this style of education, or training, earlier than the traditional post-school pathway.
Q. What are the benefits of undertaking a VET qualification at school? Why would students study VET at school rather than just pursue traditional school subjects and wait to undertake vocational education after Year 12?
A. Apart from the obvious benefits of starting this qualification early, the real benefit is gaining workplace experience, which helps students transition to work, experience areas of industry that they may or may not want to pursue, and develop employability skills under the guidance of industry-trained teaching staff and workplace employers that are contributing to the development of the emerging workforce.
Q. Is a VET qualification something that all students should undertake while they are at school? Are the benefits of vocational education available to every student, regardless of what they want to pursue post-school?
A. Not necessarily. VET qualifications are designed to help gain practical skills in a particular vocation, regardless of what you plan to pursue post-school, all learned skills enable students to develop confidence and many of the skills developed are transferable across a wide range of vocations and life in general. All students at Newman undertake at least one and up to three VET subjects out of the 14 VET subjects on offer. However, it’s not necessarily a question of should all students do VET in schools? – rather, should all schools take what they can learn from the VET approach to their pedagogy in all learning areas?
Q. For students that have plans to go to university, how is a VET qualification still relevant?
A. In some cases even more relevant than the average HSC subject for example, if you wanted to pursue a career in nursing, our Certificate III in Individual Support provides the entry theory and skills for this pathway. Universities realise that a student that has attended 700 plus hours of work experience in this field, throughout their HSC course, is well equipped to succeed in the degree. Our ex-student university completion rates are high. This is because they have made a distinct career choice based on experience in the industry and not just going to uni for the sake of a degree.
Q. Should school students aim to complete a VET qualification at a particular level? Is a Certificate IV the best option to pursue or will any level of VET study be beneficial?
A. The level of qualification for courses offered by schools is determined by NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) in consultation with Industry and can vary significantly depending on the entry-level skills that are required within each Industry. Any level is a starting point and many certificate course units are embedded in the higher-level certificates, so there is no real disadvantage in starting at the lower level especially if it provides an opportunity to test the water.
Q. How can VET subjects be used post-school? – ie a graphic on the college website says 86 percent of students intend to use the knowledge gained through VET subjects in future work and study – what do they mean by this?
A. This data was taken from a survey where we were trying to gauge how relevant the student felt their HSC subjects were. The VET courses studied at Newman provide really practical skills in various industries and whether or not you decide to use all of the skills learned, there are basic employability skills that transfer to all work situations, such as communication with employers, organisations, and experience in the workplace expectations. Most significantly, If you are continuing an apprenticeship or pursuing a higher-level education, the Nationally accredited qualifications are recognised by TAFE, Universities, and RTOs and can directly place the student in a position of advanced standing and when moving to the next stage of their career. For example, a school-based apprentice completes the first year of their apprenticeship at school then moves on to second-year apprentice with their employer and continues their study at TAFE or other RTOs.
Newman College subjects include:
- Industry-Based Learning
- Values & Ethics – Faith in Action
- English Standard or English Studies
VET Elective Options:
- Business Services
- Early Childhood, Education & Care
- Financial Services
- Furniture Making
- Hospitality or Kitchen Operations
- Human Services – Individual Support
- Information & Digital Media & Technology
- Manufacturing & Engineering
- Retail Services
- Tourism, Travel & Events
NON-VET elective options:
- Mathematics Standard 1 or 2
- Computing Applications General or CAD/CAM
- Marine Studies
- Sport Lifestyle & Recreation