The number of jobs and careers within the construction industry and trades in general is continually growing. Maybe you know you want to do a trade and aren’t sure which one is best for you? There are VET courses for a whole host of different trades depending on what interests you, all with specific and practical training and outcomes. 

What is VET?

VET stands for Vocational Education and Training, which is an education pathway that’s focused on gaining practical skills and providing you with a nationally-recognised qualification, ranging from a Certificate I to Certificate IV, to a Diploma, Advanced Diploma, Graduate Diploma and Graduate Certificate.

A VET course is similar to a university degree in that you spend a chunk of your time getting qualified for a real-world career, but it’s generally shorter, less theoretical and more hands-on, and more work-focused. You can complete a VET course at TAFE or another registered training organisation (RTO). Statistically, those who complete a VET course, have higher rates of employment and, on average, get paid slightly better than university graduates.

Why is VET relevant to the industry?

VET courses are not only relevant to getting qualified in a trade, they’re an essential part of them. For anyone who’s looking at doing an apprenticeship to get into a trade, completing at least a Certificate III of a VET course is a crucial part of your training. There’s an enormous range of trades to choose from. Electrical, plumbing, plastering, tiling, painting, landscaping… the list goes on.

 But there’s still plenty of courses you can do to get your foot in the door of a trade, without completing an apprenticeship, like a Cert I, Cert II or school-based apprenticeship. Depending on what VET course you decide to do, your training can take anywhere between a couple of weeks to four years for an apprenticeship. In considering VET, you’ll want to ask yourself how long it will take, how much it will cost, how practical it is and the employment outcomes afterwards.

What are some courses that I can do?

VET is generally considered the best pathway to gain a qualification in construction and other trades. This is because, unlike university, you’ll generally have the opportunity to work on-the-job and gain plenty of practical experience. Once you have finished your apprenticeship, you might then choose to upskill with more VET training or move onto a uni degree. Many people also turn to a VET course after they’ve completed a university degree in order to enhance their practical skills. Whether you intend to create a career as a tradie or just want to learn about the industry and gain more knowledge, there’s plenty of courses to choose from Here are a few examples of training courses, from entry level to advanced:

  • Certificate II in Construction (Entry Level)

This course is designed for those who wish to enter into the workforce with a basic level of skills and knowledge in construction. The main job that you’ll be qualified for from this 10-week course is a builder’s labourer. Over 90% of graduates said that they were satisfied with the course with almost 60% improving their employability after completing the course.

See stats and outcomes.

  • Certificate III in Wall and Floor Tiling (Trade Level)

Along with an apprenticeship, this course with set you up with a trade in tiling in both residential and commercial construction. The one-year course has a 90.5% improved employability rate amongst graduates. That’s huge!

See stats and outcomes.

  • Advanced Diploma of Electrical Engineering (Advanced Level)

An advanced diploma is for those who wish to broaden their employability and advance to become an electrical engineer. This allows you to design electrical equipment, manage projects and provide extensive technical advice. With an almost 60% employability improvement reported by graduates, this two-year course is a great way to advance in your career.

See stats and outcomes.

What are the career outcomes?

There’s a huge number of jobs within the construction and trades industry, depending on how you want to specialise and what kind trade you want to get into. Here are a few examples to give you a better idea of the massive scope of trade jobs around:

Builder, construction worker, construction manager, bricklayer, engineer, fitter and turner, boilermaker, carpenter, plumber, electrician, plasterer, landscaper, automotive mechanic/electrician, air conditioning and refrigeration mechanic, aircraft maintenance engineer, boat repairer, cabinetmaker, joiner, locksmith, motorcycle mechanic, panel beater, tiler, roof plumber, sign writer, stonemason, etc.

For more info on courses and career paths, check out the My Skills website.

Keen on getting a trade? Check out Steven’s story here– Steven has a Certificate III in Carpentry and Certificate IV in Building and Construction and knows that uni isn’t the only path to success.