In other articles, we’ve discussed your options when applying to study in Australia. This mostly covers academic university study, but there are other options available. With a wide range of vocational courses on offer, it’s possible to work towards a specific career with hands-on training. This guide looks at the choices on offer...
Australia has a series of institutions focused on technical and further education, known as TAFE institutions. They offer a range of vocational courses that give students the chance to learn some practical industry skills. Often, these courses cover workplace-specific skills and knowledge.
TAFE institutes cover a broad range of niches and offer a variety of qualifications. These are collectively known as Vocational Education and Training (VET) or Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses. Students can earn Certificate I-IV, Diplomas, Advanced Diplomas, and Graduate Certificates. Many of these courses provide the same level of qualification that a 4-year apprenticeship scheme would. For example, a Cert III in Carpentry gives you the skills to work in the construction industry in Australia and further afield.
These vocational courses can be taken over the course of 1-2 years, and quite often will be related to skills on the Skilled Occupation list. Once you’ve attained the right level of education, you may be eligible to stay in Australia under this visa scheme.
For international students, TAFE qualifications can give you practical experience that you otherwise can’t get in Australia as non-native candidates aren’t eligible for apprenticeships. TAFEs can also often lead to further education specialisation, such as a full undergraduate degree.
Much like with a university degree, the entry requirements for a TAFE course differ between subject and college. However, as an international student, you will definitely need to show evidence of your English speaking ability. Qualifications such as an IELTS or TOEFL are generally accepted for this purpose.
As an example of course requirements, we’ve shown the requirements for TAFE South Australia:
- Course: Certificate IV in Building and Construction (Estimating)
- Duration: 1 Year across two semesters
- Cost: AUD$13700
- Admission requirements: IELTS score of 5.5 overall, minimum of 5.0 in all bands. Equivalent qualifications also accepted. Students must also have completed Year 11 or equivalent.
There are many TAFE institutes across Australia to choose from. Our guide provides useful information for helping you find the right location.
International students will also need a Student visa (subclass 500) in order to study. Find our Study in Australia: preparing to apply guide for further information on requirements. We’ve also summarised what you’ll need, below:
- Confirmation of Enrolment for your chosen course.
- Proof of your genuine temporary entrant requirements.
- Evidence of financial support.
- Adequate medical insurance for the duration of your stay.
With an apprenticeship, you can spend time learning a trade under the guidance of an expert. They can be an incredibly effective way of understanding a skill and laying the foundations for further work. Australia, like many other countries, offers an apprenticeship scheme. However, this is only applicable to local students. International students cannot apply for the 4-year programme, mainly because of visa restrictions. If you want to learn a trade in Australia, a TAFE course is by far your best option.
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