Once you’ve decided you want to study in Australia, it’s time to pick an educational institution. Depending on your academic and professional goals, you have the option to enrol in a university degree, a vocational education and training (VET) qualification, or an English language course.

If your focus is on securing a job once you complete your studies, a VET course could be the right fit. VET courses are often shorter and more affordable than university degrees, with an emphasis on practical skills. 

Through a VET provider such as TAFE NSW, you can study a range of courses across the construction, manufacturing, business, health, creative arts, beauty, finance, media and hospitality industries. 

If a VET qualification interests you, here’s how to choose a provider in Australia that will help make you job ready.

HANDS-ON EXPERIENCE

When choosing a VET provider, there are a few things to look out for to ensure you get decent practical experience in your chosen field. A good VET provider will offer students practical experience in industry-standard training facilities and a small-class environment, as well as the ability to complete job placements to prepare for entering the workforce. 

WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR

Ask your chosen VET institution how the course is delivered and ensure it’s the right fit for what you want to get out of your studies. Let’s say you want to become a chef. You’ll want to choose a VET institution that’s equipped with industry-grade kitchen facilities and equipment so you can gain real-world skills. You should also make sure that you can actually prepare and serve the food yourself; not just receive a demonstration. Hands-on experience always looks better on a CV!

EXPERT TEACHERS

The VET sector is known for having engaging teachers with real-world knowledge. Studying a TAFE course is often less theoretical than a university degree, so the teachers are more focused on providing up-to-date information that will help you build on what you learn in the classroom. At TAFE, many of the teachers are currently or recently employed in the industry they teach, allowing them to share useful tips and tricks when it comes to securing employment after graduation.

WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR

Before you study, see if you can find out who your teachers are and learn a bit about their background. They might’ve worked in restaurants, businesses, creative studios or fashion houses that you admire. Or, perhaps they’re still working and have their finger on the pulse when it comes to what’s going on in the industry.

INDUSTRY PARTNERSHIPS

VET providers often develop courses with industry partners to ensure that students are prepared for the demands of the workplace. For example, TAFE NSW uses its connections to over 25,000 employers state-wide to keep its curriculum current. Last year, 84.2% of TAFE NSW students found a job or went on to further study after they graduated.

WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR

Find out what industry connections your chosen VET provider has, and do a bit of research into the kinds of jobs and workplaces graduates tend to go into. Individual teachers may even have valuable connections of their own, or maybe the VET provider offers some kind of career support to help you break into your first job in the industry.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR FURTHER STUDY

If you’re hoping to get into university in the future, VET can offer a pathway to higher education. Some courses, usually advanced diplomas, provide guaranteed entry into university. For example, TAFE NSW students can receive credit for relevant courses at Australian Catholic University (ACU), Charles Sturt University (CSU) and University of Technology Sydney (UTS). Starting your degree at TAFE and then transferring to a university can also be a cheaper option for many international students.

WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR

See if your chosen VET provider has connections to any universities, then do some research into the courses you might want to move into. If you have a dream university degree lined up, it might be worth choosing a VET provider that can provide entry into that course.

PRACTICAL SUPPORT

VET can be a great first choice when studying overseas. Providers such as TAFE NSW offer support with reading, writing, mathematics and computer skills, as well as job interview and CV writing techniques. You’ll also be able to get personalised career advice, so you can make the most of what you’ve learned. These added extras can be incredibly valuable when it comes to being job-ready.

WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR

Obviously, you’ll want to choose a VET provider that offers as much practical support as possible. Look at any gaps in your own knowledge and how a VET provider might be able to fill them. Perhaps you want to brush up on your computer literacy, or maybe you need a bit of extra support moving into the workplace.

MULTICULTURAL STUDENT SUPPORT

If you are still working on your English language skills, a VET provider like TAFE can give you specialised support inside and outside the classroom. The expert staff at TAFE can connect you with counselling, libraries and course information, as well as guidance when it comes to interpreters and bilingual services. You may even be able to receive recognition of qualifications from your home country.

WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR

All of the above! These are incredibly valuable support services that can make transitioning into higher education a much smoother and more enjoyable experience. Not only will you be able to better make the most of your studies in Australia, but a bit of extra support can make all the difference to your confidence when preparing yourself for the workforce.


TAFE NSW is Australia’s largest VET provider, offering over 230 courses with flexible course dates. TAFE NSW has over 130 locations in New South Wales with over 50 locations available for international students. For more information, head to the TAFE NSW website.


RTO 90003 | CRICOS 00591E | HEP PRV12049