There’s a common misconception that you need a bachelor’s degree or higher to work in the government, but this isn’t true. There’s actually a range of different VET courses that can provide practical training to get your foot in the door for a stable and rewarding career in the corridors of power, where the big decisions get made.

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 who want to work in the government. While universities offer bachelor’s degrees in international relations and public services, VET courses tend to be more localised and 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-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 Government (Entry Level)

This course is designed to qualify graduates to work with the government in all levels. It’s an entry-level program with a focus on the administration, communication, workplace relations and the public sector environment. Over 90% of those who complete the course are satisfied with it and 75% receive job related benefits from training. 

See stats and outcomes.

  • Certificate IV in Local Government (Operational Works) (Trade Level)

This course is all about the intricacies of local government. It’s a year-long program that covers the decision-making processes of government, community relations, policy making and civil works. More than 84% of graduates are satisfied with this course and it’s expected that there will be more than 50,000 job openings within this sector in the next 5 years.

See stats and outcomes.

  • Advanced Diploma of Government (Workplace Inspection/Investigations/Fraud Control) (Advanced Level)

This course is suited to those who’ve already got a fair bit of experience in government and want to upgrade their training to a role where they’re investigating and enforcing legislation. It’s a month-long program that is designed to lead to a senior manager or senior fraud control manager.

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.

Community liason officer, councilor, senator, youth worker, community support worker, welfare officer, electoral services officer, family support officer, fire-fighter, police officer, prison guard, local government administrator, local government clerk, politician, political campaigner, political strategist, sociologist, case worker, job provider officer, administrator, development manager, tax agent, tax collector, council worker, town planner, scientific researcher, environmental health officer, environmental protection officer, fire prevention specialist, grants officer, garbage collector, intelligence analyst, planning officer, paramedic, public housing officer, youth group leader, youth justice officer, legal aid representative etc.

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

If you’re keen on getting into Government and Public Services through VET then head here to check out Chloe’s story.