And, did you know you can become an accountant, a cyber security manager or an engineer through TAFE?
The first part in quotes is what parents could be asking their children. The second time is us actually asking you – did you know that?
After the HSC is done and dusted, some big conversations are going to be happening around the dinner table. Many families will get lost in discussions over university offers and ATAR cut-offs.
But TAFE should also be at the centre of the conversation. This is because educators like TAFE NSW have more to offer today than ever before. In fact, we’ve found students and parents alike are often surprised at all the opportunities available.
This surprise can even be life-changing.
“I feel like I somewhat wasted two years of my life striving to get this degree and then dropping out of uni with nothing to show for it,” she said.
“It was only after working 5+ jobs, a mental breakdown and moving back in with my parents that I realised I could study something I was passionate about.”
“I honestly believe if I’d known more about TAFE or traineeships in school then I would’ve got to where I am now a lot faster and cut out the wasted time trying to figure it all out.”
Misconceptions about pathways
This year we asked nearly 2000 Gen Zs which education pathway they thought they would need to pursue to get a job as a paralegal, engineer, accountant, cyber security manager, nurse, early childhood educator, graphic designer and marketing manager. These occupations were deliberately chosen because they’re achievable through both university and VET.
Surprised by some of them? We said you would be.
From the results it was clear that most of the young people we surveyed were surprised VET could land them all of these jobs too. The majority of respondents said university was the only option for all but two of these occupations. In the case of accountants and paralegals, 76% said university was the only option. Just 17% knew they were possible through both VET and uni.
At TAFE NSW the variety of jobs available to students extends far beyond these.
A career in animation, music and sound production, business administration, financial services, network engineering, software development and more are all available through studying there.
Another surprise to many students are TAFE’s employment outcomes. According to NCVER research, 84% of TAFE NSW graduates were employed or enrolled in further study after their training – 11% more than university graduates.
An 18-year-old respondent told us of her shock at finding this out.
“It is only very recently that I’ve become more aware of how much TAFE/VET pathways set up students for a career,” she said.
“I marvelled at the high employment rates that I was shown for recent TAFE graduates as opposed to people leaving degrees in areas such as marine science.”
A 21-year-old said it was important to tell students about these benefits to plug this knowledge gap.
“Easy way to fix this is teaching kids at a young age that it’s a good avenue to pursue,” he said.
“Show kids the jobs that can come from specific TAFE/VET courses and how much money they can make and the lifestyle they can live with those qualifications.”
Parents a valued source of career advice
We asked students where they get their most trustworthy career advice from and the majority (48%) said it was their parents or caregivers. We also know that 47% of youth think they face either ‘too much’ or an ‘incredible amount’ of pressure from their high school to enter university.
One 17-year-old told us how this was playing out in his family:
“Unfortunately, many people are pressured into going to uni by their parents as [they] want their children to be the greatest they can be, but they don’t realise that this can be reached easily – sometimes more easily – through TAFE,” he said.
A parent that does understand the variety of options has the best chance to help their child find a career that they can enjoy and can thrive in. This is because during the big discussions happening in homes across Australia about young people’s futures, the most successful will be the ones where parents simply know about, and are open to, all post-school options. A mum or a dad who can throw some surprising advice into the mix, like how you can become an engineer through TAFE NSW, could be setting their child on a course which will even surprise themselves.
If you want to find out more about the opportunities TAFE NSW can offer, head over here.
Grab your free copy of our After The ATAR reports for more data and unique insights about Gen Z.