TAFE is Better Than University For Career Success and Here’s Why
Yes, that’s right, you heard correctly. A TAFE qualification is better than a University one and this article sets out to demonstrate all the reasons why this is. If you’re like the millions of Australians unsure of your future career path and are still stuck in the TAFE vs University debate; the recent findings by the Skilling Australia Foundation might help you take a step in the right direction.
One of the biggest myths in Australia right now is that a TAFE qualification isn’t as valuable as a University degree in terms of future employment. Not only is this completely undeserving, but it’s also untrue. A combination of poor media attention, stigma and a lack of encouragement in schools have let the VET sector’s reputation slide.
There’s plenty of incorrect opinions that mar the TAFE name and if you’re one of the many that still are unsure of the benefits of going to TAFE, here are some facts that might help you out.
TAFE vs University: Here’s the Stats
Popular TAFE Subjects
Professions in Need of Workers
In Australia, 36% of occupations are facing a skills shortage, with many of these in the technicians and trades industries including automotive, hospitality and technology. Of these jobs, only 63% of vacancies were filled in 2016. Not only does this show that there’s a serious lack of skilled professionals in these fields; it also highlights the importance of TAFE.
Of the 10 careers expected to have the most growth in the next five years, 90% of these require a minimum TAFE qualification; as opposed to having to go to University. The VET sector isn’t as irrelevant as people seem to believe and will be extremely important in filling the positions needed for the future.
Some of the jobs in Australia that have the lowest portion of skilled workers to fill jobs include:
So What’s Better?
Sometimes the facts are in the figures. When it comes to the overall performance of TAFE compared to University, TAFE is in the lead on some very important points. In terms of providing more training, TAFE is a lot more accessible to aspiring students, enabling 4 times more to access education than University. The average graduate salary is also higher than those that complete a University qualification, despite what almost 70% of the population believe.
TAFE is also compfortably ahead when it comes to graduate employment; with 78% of graduates getting a job in the six months following their course, comapred to only 68% of University students. Students that complete a TAFE apprenticeship or traineeship have a graduate employment rate of up to 92%.
Despite popular opinion, University actually isn’t the most popular choice for education among school-leavers and career changers; with VET providing education to four-times more students than the Univerasities. One of the main reasons for this, is because it’s much more accessible to a wider range of students, including mature-aged, parents and international students.
You have the option to attend a leader educator, at a fraction of the cost and without the time commitments. Unlike a lot of Universities, the enrolment process is much faster and students don’t have to jump through the many hoops to qualify for a place and a loan.
VET and TAFE Students
In Australia, students that obtain a qualification through VET earn approximately$2,000 every year more than University graduates. This statistic is completely different from the popular opinion that VET graduates earn up to $20,000 less than University students.
Average graduate salary
for University Students
Average graduate salary
for VET students
TAFE Students Earn More
The Skilling Australia Foundation’s survey found that 68% of Australians believe that VET graduates earns at least $10,000 less than University students. As many as 1 in 3 also believe the wage gap to be more than $20,000 per year. The reality, however, is that TAFE students earn MORE than their University companions. When it comes to the overall highest average graduate salaries, TAFE students also have the upper hand, with the Certificate IV in Hazardous Areas- Electrical course having an average graduate salary of $91,000.
believe that VET graduates earn at least 10K less than University students
Alternatively, the highest average salary for a University degree is Dentistry, which has an average starting salary of $80,000. The need to study a Three-to-four-year minimum Bachelor degree that requires countless placement and exam hours seems incredulous compared to the Certificate IV in Hazardous Areas- Electrical.
Average Graduate Salary
Average course duration
Very strong job growth
This course prepares graduates for industries including mining and construction
Average Graduate Salary
Average course duraction
Strong job growth
This course prepares graduates for required for a career as a dentist or dental surgeon. These careers have strong future growth
Who Needs TAFE?
Careers in STEM, especially those in technology and engineering are the future of the Australian workforce. With these career paths dominating jobs even now, the need for more skilled professionals is ever growing. TAFE has one of the highest portions of STEM qualified graduates, 68% in STEM careers attended TAFE and only 32% attended University.
It’s also important for the economy, a 1% increase in STEM professionals can add as much as $50 billion to the economy. You don’t need to be an Einstein or a Newton to work in science, technology, engineering or maths; TAFE is making it possible for everyday Australians to enter these exciting industries without the hassle.
What’s the Opinion in Australia?
The Skilling Australia Foundation conducted a survey to determine the opinions and views of Australians when it came to TAFE and University education. In terms of quality, job outcomes and overall benefits; University seems to be the preferred choice.
When it comes to whether or not htese opinions actually holds any truth, this is a different story altogether.
Would prefer to attend University than TAFE
Even though such a large portion of Australians would prefer to attend University over TAFE; the student numbers show a completely different story. In Australia, there are four times more TAFE students than University. TAFE is easier, more affordable and accessible to more people.
Believe that University graduates earn more
On average, TAFE students earn $2,000 more than University graduates in half the time of a Uni degree. They also tend to have higher pay rises as the focus on practical experience is considered more important to entering the workforce.
Think TAFE isn’t as relevant as University
TAFE isn’t only relevant now, it’s essential for the development of the careers that will be needed the most in the future. 90% of the most important jobs in the next ten years are TAFE specialisations, including IT, aged care and engineering.
Believe that University graduates get jobs easier
For University students, 68% are able to find a job after graduating, compared to over 80% of TAFE graduates. Not only does TAFE prepare students more; they also have over 90% of all students employed full-time in their industry in the three years that follow their studies.
So with so many benefits to attending TAFE over university, what will it take to change the opinions of Australians? Vocational education is highly valued all over the world and despite being worlds apart in salary, job outcomes and in-demand professions; TAFE is still not recognised as a quality educator in Australia.
So before you commit to years of study and put yourself into tens of thousands of dollars in student debts; consider TAFE. Not only is it accessible to school leavers, mature-aged students and career changers alike; it’s also your key to a successful career once you graduate.
Don’t put it off any longer; turn your 2018 resolutions into reality and browse TAFE courses today.