What are TAFE and VET?

Technical and Further Education (TAFE)

The TAFE sector is the largest education and training sector in Australia. Each year thousands of international students come to Australia to take advantage of the extensive range of courses and subject areas that provide practical skills and vocational training for a considerable variety of careers.

What TAFE offers

TAFE institutes in Australia are government owned and have a long history of helping international students reach their career goals. International students attend TAFE institutes to complete courses that range from certificate to postgraduate level. Many institutes also provide accredited English language training and foundation studies as preparatory programs for entry into Diploma, Advanced Diploma, Associate Degree and Bachelor Degree courses. All institutes and colleges are subject to government monitoring to ensure high standards.

Some common reasons that international students choose to enrol in TAFE courses in Australia are to:

  • improve their opportunities of being accepted into university study
  • gain practical, work-based skills to improve their employment prospects
  • take advantage of the wide variety of courses on offer
  • enjoy the individual attention that the typically small class sizes allow
  • enjoy the advantages of life in Australia

Pathways to university

TAFE provides both international and domestic students with a number of education pathways to university (higher education). In addition to providing assistance with entrance requirements, TAFE courses can also be counted for credit towards some Australian university courses. For example, students who graduate with a diploma from a TAFE college may receive up to two or three semesters of credit towards a related university degree.

Pathways to the workforce

A TAFE qualification can also improve your prospects in the job market. Due to the practical emphasis of most courses in this sector, a TAFE qualification can be a valuable addition to the resume.

Average tuition costs

AUD$5,500–$18,000 a year

Please note that course fees can vary widely depending on the course, institute and location chosen and should always be sourced from the relevant TAFE institute(s).

Vocational Education and Training (VET)

VET is education and training that provides skills and knowledge for the workforce, enhances employability and assists learning throughout life. The VET sector is positioned between secondary schools and universities and prepares students for employment or further study. This sector consists of public institutes of TAFE and private colleges specialising in one or more areas of study related to future work.

Thousands of courses are offered through the VET education sector in Australia. Qualifications gained through the VET sector lead to a variety of diverse and exciting careers. VET is offered not only in the public TAFE system, but also through private and community providers and in secondary schools. It can lead to university study options and provides up to six levels of nationally recognised qualifications in most industries, including high growth and new economy industries.

Who offers VET courses?

VET courses are offered by Registered Training Organisations (RTOs). These can include Technical and Further Education (TAFE) institutes and private colleges. These organisations are all registered by each Australian state or territory authority to:

  • provide quality training
  • deliver courses developed with industry
  • issue a nationally recognised qualification.

RTOs that offer courses to international students must also register with the Australian Government’s Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS). This register allows the government to monitor the education offered to international students in Australia, and ensure that it is of consistent and ongoing high quality.

Reference: CIT International

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