CQU VET enrolments show TAFE is for everybody

27 August 2021

A recent analysis of the vocational enrolment trends at CQUniversity shows that TAFE level study isn't just for school leavers and young people' with vocational course enrolments up across most age groups and the average age of a VET student being 30 years old.

Peter Heilbuth' CQUniversity's Deputy Vice-President' VET Operations' explained that the average age statistic is a long-standing and consistent one' and is due to the fact that people realise the benefits of holding a vocational qualification' especially people who have already established careers and who are looking to upskill' and those who may be looking to change careers.

'It is interesting that the average age of a VET student at CQUniversity is 30. This is a consistent trend seen in TAFEs across regional Australia and this fact belies the common wisdom that TAFE is largely (and exclusively) for young people undertaking apprenticeships and traineeships.

'While TAFE is certainly a great opportunity for young people to train in traineeships and apprentices' we are seeing sustained interest and growth in students enrolling in certificates and diplomas in areas such as health and community services' education and nursing' business studies and community service. It really does show that TAFE offers something for everyone'' said Mr Heilbuth.

'For many people' CQUniversity TAFE is a wonderful choice for advancing in their careers' acquiring additional skills' or reskilling for a change in career or to re-enter the workforce.

'As Queensland's only dual sector university we are also seeing that we have almost equal numbers of degree (or higher) qualified students enrolling in a VET qualification as we do VET graduates transitioning into higher education.

'In fact' year on year' we are seeing between 600 to 1'000 students move from VET to higher ed and from higher ed to VET.

'In particular' we have seen some strong interest in TAFE qualifications' micro-credentials and short courses as a result of the pandemic' with many people needing to pivot their careers or gain additional qualifications for their jobs.

'Opening up these education and training pathways was part of our vision when the University merged with TAFE more than seven years ago' so it is great to see that students are realising the benefits of this comprehensive approach to education and training.'

Mr Heilbuth also said that apprentice enrolments have continued to increase in Central Queensland.

'In the last three years we have witnessed a 30 per cent spike in total VET student enrolments and a 37 per cent increase in total apprenticeship enrolments.

'This growth in trade apprenticeships is being led by areas such as electrical' heavy-automotive' engineering and hair and beauty.

'CQUniversity is also proud to train around 1'000 school students per year in Central Queensland through our Start TAFE Now program which provides high school students with qualifications to help them transition into further study' or gain apprenticeships and employment after completion of year 12.'