Student voices: what young people are saying about choosing VET

Media release

23 October 2017

While school students view vocational education and training (VET) as a positive experience offering practical and work-related learning, some hold negative views of the value, prestige and importance of VET study, according to new research released today by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER).

The publication Choosing VET: aspirations, intentions and choices, which summarises two new studies where students talk about their post-school aspirations in their own words, shows that student interest in VET-related jobs is higher than their interest in post-school VET pathways.

“Australian school students hold views of TAFE and VET that indicate a misalignment between their occupational aspirations and their understanding of what VET offers when planning for their future,” said Dr Craig Fowler, Managing Director, NCVER.

“Negative perceptions of VET can strengthen in later senior secondary years, so it’s important students have access to accurate, independent information about VET careers and pathways when they’re making decisions about their future.”

The research investigated school students ranging from years 3 to 12 to gauge their awareness of vocational training options and career pathways, as well as how they make their choices in a competitive training market.

“The task of choosing a course of VET study is a complex one. Practical factors such as location, timetables, course content and fees can all play a significant part,” Dr Fowler said.

“Prospective students also feel they lack reliable, trustworthy information on VET providers, and when that information is available, they can be overwhelmed with detail and unable to see what’s most relevant to their needs.

“They also feel uncertain about what financial support is available to those considering VET pathways.”

The summary Choosing VET: aspirations, intentions and choices and the research reports Choosing VET: investigating the aspirations of school students and In their words: student choice in training markets are all available from

This work has been produced by NCVER on behalf of the Australian Government and state and territory governments, with funding provided through the Australian Government Department of Education and Training.

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