Work experience and a formal qualification. VET students truly get the best of both worlds.

You've probably heard the tale from more than one person: Stepping out into the world with a fresh bachelor's degree only to find that every employer in your chosen field wants more than a degree. They want experience.

It's all too common for people with undergraduate degrees. So much so that over a quarter of a new bachelor's degree graduates had not found full-time employment four months after course completion, according to Graduate Careers Australia.

Of course, it's difficult to get experience when you've spent the last three or so years studying for a qualification in order to find work – it's an age-old paradox. Fortunately for tomorrow's high school leavers, there's a smarter option that delivers the best of both worlds: a qualification and job experience. It's called vocational education and training (VET) and five per cent more graduates find employment after study compared to undergraduate study, reports the National Centre for Vocational Education Research.

Let's take a look at how VET gets you skills, experience and a career.

VET gives you skills

VET is about equipping you with the skillset you need to succeed in your industry.

First and foremost, VET is about equipping you with the skillset you need to succeed in your industry.

Just like university study, VET is a style of formal education. However, the delivery of VET is focused on real skills, not simply academic study. Your success is measured by how you perform in the workplace and in practical assessment, not only how you complete written examinations. This ensures you have more than just knowledge when you graduate – you have real skills that enable you to achieve in your industry.

More than this, you'll gain highly transferrable competencies, preparing you for a lifetime of variety, diverse careers and flexibility. You can read more about transferrable skills in our recent blog post, "Practical career options for young people in 2019".

In the classroom or the workplace, VET students at Kenvale gain real practical skills.In the classroom or the workplace, VET students at Kenvale gain real practical skills.

VET gives you experience

In addition to skills, paid work and work-integrated learning, all part of a VET program, put you in the workforce from the moment you commence study. Working alongside your studies means that by the time you graduate, you have between one and three years experience, depending on the length of your course.

The ability to place relevant industry experience on your CV means you'll have the competitive edge against university graduates in the same field.

Also of note is the rise of graduate programs in Australia. Many larger employers today, including hotels, are introducing graduate programs designed to train university graduates in necessary workplace skills, such as basic accounting, marketing, and operations. These programs essentially put you back at the bottom of the ladder after years of study, and are extremely competitive. By choosing VET study, you'll have gained the skills and experience to go straight into a full-time role upon graduation.

It's for this reason, Kenvale graduates enjoy a 100 per cent graduate employment success rate.

Workplace experience provided by VET puts you ahead of undergraduate students.Workplace experience provided by VET puts you ahead of undergraduate students.

VET gives you higher education

If, down the line, you decide you'd like to pursue academia either to upskill or retrain, you'll find a VET qualification opens many more doors than just undergraduate study. With a VET qualification and a few years in the workforce, universities will allow you to springboard into postgraduate study, starting with a graduate certificate or graduate diploma with the option of transitioning to a master's degree.

High school leavers studying at Kenvale will complete a two-year VET qualification with concurrent study and paid work. Upon graduation most have supervisory roles and some management responsibilities. From then, they'll continue to work for two or three years and may decide they'd like to return to study. Universities offer them a postgraduate course and advise them to skip undergraduate degrees because of their employment track record. By the time they complete their study, they're only 25 or 26, and have both a postgraduate qualification and five or more years of industry experience, and are quickly moving up the career ladder.

Kenvale College is a leading provider of VET qualifications for hospitality, event management and commercial cookery in Sydney. For more information about pursuing your passions, contact a course adviser at Kenvale today.

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