Technical schools may have once been associated with trade professions, but the training they offer nowadays is much more extensive than before, and the qualifications more diverse. For example, 80% of the training currently on offer at TAFE institutions throughout Australia is unrelated to trade professions, but is rather related to professions in areas such as tourism, business and information technology.
In each case, the training is highly specialized, and geared towards providing students with skills that will help them succeed in their chosen field. As such, a technical education can no longer be deemed substandard to that of academic institutions. Instead, it offers students a viable alternative, one that has many benefits.
TAFE NSW Armidale Campus
The benefits of a technical education include:
High job prospects
Since technical schools provide specialized training as opposed to the more general education provided by academic institutions, the chance of graduates finding jobs or apprenticeships in their chosen field is high. Many technical schools have connections with employers, which depend on these schools to produce the skills they need.
High completion rate
Technical courses narrow down the material to focus specifically on skills and knowledge relevant to a career path. Many students will find the practical nature of the training more appealing, and thus will be more likely to persevere with the course.
Ease of access
Since technical courses are more focused, they are better suited to part-time and distance learning. Students have a wealth of options when it comes to pursuing a technical education, including the best that e-learning technology has to offer.
Technical or academic education?
A technical education will appeal especially to those who:
- Lack the resources or the time to attend an academic institution, for whatever reason. For example, those who are already employed, but are looking to upgrade their skills and advance their position.
- Have been laid off during a period of economic downturn, which, according to Gatlin International, is the best time to upgrade their skills, as it will stand them in good stead when the market picks up again and new job prospects arise.
- Know exactly which career path they intend to pursue, and wish to be trained in skills relevant to that career at an institution that places them in the best position to find employment in that field.
- Wish to pursue an academic education, but lack the credentials. A technical course can be a step towards obtaining the necessary qualifications.
Catering to the needs of the economy
In Australia, a country that is beset by skill shortages in multiple industries, technical schools such as TAFE fulfill a vital function. Their flexibility allows them to structure their courses to meet the needs of those industries, and produce the skills that are in highest demand. Organizations operating in these industries know where to look when it comes time to recruit new talent.
Furthermore, these institutions increase participation in the workforce by providing additional ways for people to enter it. Those who aren’t able to gain entry to an academic institution still have a means to acquire qualifications and find employment. According to The Scan. Research has shown that obtaining a Vocational Education and Training (VET) qualification has assisted 98% of students in getting a job after college.
It’s up to the student to determine which form of education suits them best, but what matters is that they have options. While academic institutions have their own benefits, technical institutions such as TAFE offer an alternative pathway to tertiary education, one that comes with high job prospects and accessibility, and is able to cater specifically to the needs of the individual, their future employers, and the economy as a whole.
Read our guide to TAFE courses in Australia.