While it’s true that you don’t necessarily need formal qualifications to work in digital media and design, there’s a range of different VET courses that can provide practical training to get your foot in the door. And the digital industries have a whole range of exciting future careers that are worth scoping out.

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 offer a whole bunch of very specific training for those with niche career aspirations, whether it’s building websites, designing print materials or managing a social media strategy for a brand. The digital and tech industries are fast paced and constantly evolving, but for those who are really passionate, there are plenty of pathways to a long term, stable career.

This is where VET comes in: VET courses provide the opportunity to work up from an introductory course in design or IT and into more complex and niche parts of the industry, such as web development or game design. Essentially, there’s a lot of room for career progression in the digital media landscape.

Universities offer bachelor’s degrees in design and digital media but VET courses tend to be more specified to a particular job title. VET courses also tend to have more variety in length, taking anywhere from a couple of weeks to four years for an apprenticeship. In considering VET, you 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?

One of the most appealing parts of VET is that the courses are generally shorter and cheaper than a bachelor’s degree. Rather than doing a 3- or 4-year degree, the tendency is to do a short course in order to get qualified and then learn more while on the job. As you progress through your career, you can then upskill with more VET training. Alternatively, many people turn to a VET course before or after they’ve completed a university degree in order to enhance their skills and gain more practical experience. Here are a few examples of training courses, from entry level to advanced.

  • Certificate II in Information, Digital Media and Technology (Entry Level)

This course is designed to provide graduates with an introductory knowledge of IT to work in a range of different industries. It’s a 6-month, entry-level program that covers commercial computing, basic problem solving techniques and interactive online content. Over 86% of those who complete the course are satisfied with it and it’s expected that there will be between 25,000 and 50,000 job openings in the industry within the next 5 years.

See stats and outcomes.

  • Certificate IV in Design (Trade Level)

This course is all about the intricacies of design, from building a website to creating 3D models. It’s a six-month program that endeavours to familiarise students with the practical skills that are crucial to the industry. More than 83% of graduates are satisfied with this course and of 32% those who weren’t employed before the course got employed afterwards.

See stats and outcomes.

  • Diploma of Digital and Interactive Games (Advanced Level)

This course is suited to those who’ve already got a bit of a technical understanding of computer programming and want to expand it to the field of game development. It’s a year-long program that is designed to foster a whole bunch of technical skills, including in online game development, mobile device gaming and interactive internet gaming. It’s very much a contemporary skill in an emerging sector and 83% of graduates were satisfied with the course.

See stats and outcomes.

What are the career outcomes?

The job titles associated with tourism and hospitality are many and far reaching. Here are a couple of examples to kickstart your imagination.

Designer, web designer, web developer, app designer, game designer, marketing and communications manager, digital graphic designer, print graphic designer, animator, art director, content manager, content engineer, creative director, graphic artist, video editor, film maker, software engineer, writer publicist, photographer, photo editor, multimedia designer.

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

Keen on getting into Creative, Digital Media and Design through VET? Then you should definitely check out Chris’ story here. Chris is a Graphic Designer who learnt everything he knows through VET- find out more about him here.