A STEM apprenticeship is an awesome option if you want to learn on the job or if you’ve worked out that uni just isn’t the right path for you.
Unfortunately, there are plenty of apprenticeship myths out there that just aren’t true. Below, we bust five of these to show you that a VET pathway into STEM can equip you with important skills, put you ahead of uni grads and land you the gig of your dreams.
For more on STEM + VET, head to our Vocational Education and Training hub.
Now let’s bust some myths!
1. Apprenticeships are just for trades, not STEM careers
Nope! According to myfuture, there are more than 500 occupations across Australia that offer apprenticeships and traineeships. And guess what? Heaps of these are in STEM! Through an apprenticeship, you could get into everything from engineering and IT to health and mining.
2. There are not that many VET/apprenticeship options for future engineers
Actually, there are. 80% of STEM vocational training is focused on engineering!
Here’s a handy list of engineering paths you could take:
- Advanced Diploma of Engineering (Mechanical)
- Certificate II in Aeroskills
- Certificate III in Engineering – Fabrication Trade
- Certificate III in Engineering – Mechanical Trade
- Certificate II in Engineering – Production Technology
- Certificate IV in Maritime Operations
- Diploma of Air-conditioning and Refrigeration Engineering
- Diploma of Electronics and Communications Engineering
- Diploma of Engineering – Advanced Trade
- Diploma of Engineering – Technical
- Undergraduate Certificate in Renewable Energy Engineering
You can also read more about non-uni pathways into engineering here.
3. Apprenticeships are only for recent school leavers
Bzzt, wrong! Apprentices can be any age. In fact, the number of people aged 25 and over starting apprenticeships increased between 2019 and 2020 according to this report by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research.
4. Apprentices don’t get any financial support
Oh but they do! The Australian Apprentice Training Support Payment is available to eligible apprentices commencing from 1 July 2022 in priority occupations listed on the Australian Apprenticeship Priority List. These include:
- Agricultural Technician
- Aircraft Maintenance Engineer
- Civil Engineering Draftsperson
- Civil Engineering Technician
- Dental Assistant
- Electrical Engineering Draftsperson
- Electrical Engineering Technician
- Telecommunications Technician
Trade Support Loans are another great option. These assist with everyday costs while completing your apprenticeship, and you can receive up to $21,779 over the life of the apprenticeship.
5. Uni grads make more money than apprentices
It’s the other way around. The Skilling Australia Foundation revealed in a report that the average full-time income for a VET graduate is $56,000, compared to the graduate salary of $54,000 for students completing a Bachelors degree.
Want to hear from three real-life STEM professionals who have kickstarted alternative study pathways? Check out the recording of the Careers with STEM: Apprenticeships + Traineeships live webinar.
Author: Louise Meers
Louise is Careers with STEM’s digital content strategist. She has a journalism degree from the University of Technology, Sydney and has spent over a decade writing for youth. She is passionate about inspiring young people to achieve their biggest goals and build a better future.