2 min read

VET, TAFE, or Uni? Australia's Education Paths for Your Teen

by Tenzing Tsewang



Do you have a teen that's approaching that critical stage of high school? Are they still a little confused about their educational and career options? In this blog, we examine the educational pathways that exist for young people leaving high school in Australia and how the Wandr learning & career finder platform can help them make sense of things.

As a parent of a high school student in Australia approaching that critical final year, you can end up being just as worried about their educational or career path as they are. This crossroads can be daunting, as that big question "What's next?" rears its head. They could go straight into work (although it's not what career guidance experts usually recommend) or think about uni or TAFE/VET training.

It can feel like navigating a maze when trying to work out the best option but fear not, as in this blog, we aim to shine some light on the subject. The truth is that every child is unique, and when they ask that all-important question, "What career should I do?" you want to be sure you're giving sage advice.

Their career decision is typically based on the academic education route that they take, with university courses opening up certain doors and VET training presenting others. To help you guide your child through this tricky period, this blog focuses on the benefits of each option, so stay with us as we give you a condensed (and more understandable) version of what each one entails.

Taking the University Path

University courses cover a diverse range of subjects, from sciences to humanities, and there are certain professional roles that require one as a minimum. We're talking about the doctors, lawyers, engineers and architects of this world, which also tend to be the career options that offer the best salaries.

The benefits of a University education:

  • Your child gains an in-depth expertise in their chosen field.
  • They get to build valuable connections with peers, faculty & industry professionals.
  • University Enhances critical thinking, problem-solving skills, and independence.
  • Exposure to diverse ideas and cultures, especially in international programs.

The Drawbacks of Going to University:

  • University education can be expensive. Student loans often need to be taken, which must be paid back when they start earning, and they don't cover living expenses and equipment.
  • It typically takes several years to complete, delaying their entry into the workforce.
  • While a degree does broaden their career options, there's no guaranteed job at the end.
  • Focusing entirely on theory, there's often a practical skills gap, meaning that low-paid internships are required to build real-world experience.

While university is an option that offers wider career possibilities, there are other factors that need to be considered - such as which career jobs will your teen actually be doing once they've graduated. If there's no defined career path involved, it could represent wasted time.

Taking the VET/TAFE Route

Another of the post-high school education options available in Australia are VET and TAFE courses.

Vocational Education and Training (VET) and Technical and Further Education (TAFE) offer practical, industry-focused pathways aimed at real-world jobs.

Don't get mixed up between the two acronyms, as TAFE is simply a subset of VET courses, and they offer a range of benefits in terms of defined career options and are structured as Certificates I-IV, followed by a Diploma if desired. They also offer credits towards a degree if they want to attend later.

The benefits of VET courses:

  • They're Hands-On Courses: On a VET course, your teen gets practical, industry-relevant skills, making them job-ready straight away.
  • They're Shorter: VET Courses are most often shorter than university degrees, allowing for quicker entry into the workforce.
  • They're Cost-Effective: VET training is generally more affordable than university education, meaning an easier time for the Bank of Mum and Dad.
  • They're Super-Relevant: VET courses are designed with the help of the industry, meaning that they're always super-relevant and up-to-date.

The drawbacks of VET courses:

  • Restricted Career Options: Your teen won't get quite as many opportunities as if they had a degree under their belt.
  • Lower Earnings: Career jobs that require a degree are often better paid, but it's not always by as much as you might think.
  • Less Prestigious: A degree is seen by some employers as being more prestigious than vocational qualifications, but the targeted nature of VET training still means their skills are in demand.

With VET training, your child will be working sooner and have clear career ideas in terms of what they will be doing. That said, it can be a strategic step, particularly as they count towards a degree - something that can be revisited further down the line if they so wish.

The Importance of Making the Right Decision

Navigating the post-secondary education journey correctly is important, and as we've seen, both university and VET training have their pros and cons. Uni broadens their potential, whereas VET learning gets them into the thick of things faster, and it's about assessing each choice and how it relates to the career ideas they have.

It's important to get the decision right as those who choose the wrong career paths risk:

  • Becoming disheartened by their choice
  • Wasting thousands of dollars in tuition fees
  • Setting themselves years back in their career
  • Losing self-esteem and belief

On the other hand, making the right choice can boost your child's personal growth and give them the enthusiasm to excel in their selected path. That's why you should have an open discussion with your teen to get to the heart of their interests, goals and career ideas. It's also vital not to put too much pressure on them - as they're likely doing that to themselves already!

Wandr - Providing Priceless Career Guidance & Insight

There's no better way to see if career paths suit you than trying them out, and the Wandr learning and career finder platform lets you do just that! Rather than basing this important decision on feelings, they can get an inside look at a range of different professions to see if they fit while gaining marketable skills.

You don't want them to lumber themselves with a student loan if it's not strictly needed, and our video-led learning allows them to determine whether they like how a range of roles feel on for size. Our training covers an array of industries and thousands of topics - giving them priceless insight.

We've also got experienced expert mentors available who can offer valuable career guidance from industries they may be considering, such as:

  • Criminology & Law
  • Business, Management & Entrepreneurship
  • Mental Health & Wellness
  • Beauty & Fashion
  • Graphic Design & FX
  • Fitness & Nutrition
  • Travel & Tourism
  • Photography

Viewable via their phone, laptop or tablet, Wandr courses can be engaged with at their own pace, giving them a relaxed place to get their head straight and formulate a plan. Available at a low monthly cost, it's a fantastic career tool for cutting through the fog and finding their way.

Wandr - Your Teen's Best Way to Explore Careers That Fit

Far too many high school students are still choosing the wrong career options in Australia, as they're not getting the right career guidance to allow them to choose wisely. That's something we aim to rectify at Wandr through a wide range of insightful video-led career courses that span thousands of topics and 1-to-1 career coaching from real-world experts.

If you'd like to find out more about Wandr training or our mentoring service, visit us today at www.wandr.au where you can download our Parent Info Pack for free. Alternatively, have a chat with our friendly team by calling 1300 611 404 or emailing support@wandr.au? They're ready and waiting to steer you and your child in the right direction.

by Tenzing Tsewang



Do you have a teen that's approaching that critical stage of high school? Are they still a little confused about their educational and career options? In this blog, we examine the educational pathways that exist for young people leaving high school in Australia and how the Wandr learning & career finder platform can help them make sense of things.

Fitness and Business Mentor



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