The jobs within the customer service industry extend far beyond working part-time at the clothes store down the road. There are many career opportunities available within the industry that can be accessed through a variety of specialised and practical VET courses.

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?

To create a career for yourself within the retail and customer service industry, it’s ideal to have some certified training behind you. VET courses allow you to get plenty of hands-on training within very niche areas of the customer service industry. Maybe you want to be an interior decorator, a tour guide, a butcher or a pastry chef. These are not skills that you would traditionally learn at university, but rather through a VET course.

The bonus of this is that VET courses are often shorter and cheaper than studying a bachelor’s degree. VET courses also tend to have more variety in length, taking anywhere from a couple of weeks to four years for an apprenticeship. Many courses in retail and customer service also have a practical element, where you might complete a traineeship in a real company or complete work experience on-the-job. In considering which VET course to choose, 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?

 Apart from being shorter and cheaper than a bachelor’s degree, VET courses are often much more practical and specialised as well, meaning you will have a clearer idea of what you can do with your qualification once you’ve completed your course. As you progress through you career, you might decide to upskill with more VET training or in a university degree. 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 Retail Cosmetics (Entry Level)

This course is an introduction to the retail industry and will set you up to work in the beauty and makeup industry. If you enjoy cosmetics and love to share your opinions about your favourite products, beauty consultancy could be the role for you, and this is one way you could get your foot in the door. It’s also a great starting point if you want to study courses in makeup artistry and beauty therapy.

See stats and outcomes.

  • Certificate III in Customer Engagement (Trade Level)

If sales and customer service is right up your alley and you want to make interacting with people a big part of your career, then this is a great way to get the training you need. In this course you will learn all the foundational skills to work in a wide range of customer service roles, like how to communicate effectively with customers, how to work in a team and how to meet targets and key performance indicators. 

See stats and outcomes.

  • Diploma of Retail Leadership (Advanced Level)

 If you want to manage a retail business, a chain of retail store, or even your own small business, then you’ll need the skills to look after a whole host of jobs within your organisation. From ensuring the business is making profit to handling staff and delegating roles, there’s so much you need to know as a manager or leader in a retail setting, and this is the course that’s going to get you up to senior management standard.

See stats and outcomes.

What are the career outcomes?

 Because retail spreads across so many different industries (pretty much every industry has some aspect of buying and selling associated with it), there’s a vast range of different roles you could complete in retail and customer service. Here are just some of those jobs to kick start your imagination:

Checkout worker, sales assistant, customer service assistant, retail supervisor, team leader, sales consultant, call centre worker, customer service representation, sales representative, customer contact manager, area manager, state manager, senior store manager, small business owner, etc.

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

Keen to know more about getting into Retail and Customer Services through VET? Laura knows all about it, and you can head here to find out a bit more from them.