Want to earn higher wages and have good job prospects? You may be better off looking at vocational education than a university degree.
New research from McCrindle, commissioned by the Skilling Australia Foundation which advocates for vocational education and training, finds that much of people’s perceptions of the sector has little basis in reality.
‘‘Sandwiched between debates about university deregulation and private v public school funding, vocational education all too often is relegated to forgotten child status,’’ Skilling Australia chief executive Nicholas Wyman said.
The report finds four in five parents would prefer their children go to university after school over pursuing vocational education.
But by sticking to this aspiration, they may be unnecessarily limiting their child’s potential.
While nearly half of Australians think VET is no longer as relevant as university, government figures indicate nine of the top 10 occupations predicted to have the most jobs growth are in vocational training areas.
The new report finds that conversely to widespread beliefs:
■The median full-time income for a VET graduate is $56000 against $54000 for a someone with a bachelor degree.
■Nearly eight in 10 VET graduates have a job soon after training, against about seven in 10 university graduates.
■More than nine in 10 trade apprentices have jobs after finishing training.
The report notes that at the same time as Australia has an unusually high underemployment rate, more than a third of occupations were reporting labour shortages.
The report also points out the government expects more than one-fifth of HELP loans to university students will never be repaid because graduates don’t earn enough.
‘‘Unfortunately, vocational study has a history of being seen as less respectable than attending university. This must change,’’ Mr Wyman said.
An array of respectable, upwardly-mobile careers were possible in growing sectors like health care, biotech, cyber security, agriculture, tourism and hospitality that don’t require university education, he said.