When considering a career in science, technology, engineering or maths, university might seem like the default choice – but only 32% of Australia’s STEM-qualified workforce went to university. The majority have VET (Vocational Education and Training) qualifications – and the sector is about to undergo a major overhaul.
On May 26, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the Government’s plans to reboot the economy following the slow-down and job losses caused by measures to flatten the curve of COVID-19 spread.
Central to the plan, dubbed ‘JobMaker’, is an overhaul of Australia’s VET sector. The Prime Minister said the current system is too confusing, and suggested this was turning students away from choosing VET.
“It is no wonder that when faced with this complexity, many potential students default to the university system, even if their career could be best enhanced through vocational education,” he said. “I want those trade and skills jobs to be aspired to, not looked down upon or seen as a second best option, it is a first best option.”
As part of the overhaul, and so students can make better-informed education and training choices, a National Skills Commission will publish close to real-time data on things like emerging skills shortages, wages and other labour market trends.
VET funding will also become more closely aligned with skill areas that businesses say they need, and the VET sector will be simplified between states and territories, and also between VET and university.
So what do STEM careers in the VET sector look like? Take a look at some of the paths into VET and read more about getting work in STEM without a uni degree here.
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Author: Gemma Chilton
Gemma has a degree in journalism from the University of Technology, Sydney and spent a semester studying environmental journalism in Denmark. She has been writing about science and engineering for over a decade.