Posted September 4, 2017
According to TAFE NSW, the hair and beauty industry is worth over $4 billion each year and currently employs 81,000 people, providing strong employment growth over the next five years and an above average level of future job openings. (Source: https://www.tafensw.edu.au/job-areas/hair-and-beauty and Australian Government Job Outlook, 2016).
In a tough economy, where many university-educated students are struggling to find graduate positions, the opportunities and doors opening for apprentices are great, and should be considered carefully by school leavers as they choose which path to take.
Vocational education and training (VET) allows students to gain qualifications for all types of employment, from hair and beauty to mechanics, chefs and tattoo artists. By completing an apprenticeship, you are equipped with specific skills to help you in the workplace, providing you with hands-on experience from day one. The providers of training within the VET sector include TAFE institutes and private providers, community organisations, industry skill centres and a host of other training providers.
The prospects for the VET graduates are very good according to the latest report from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER), which shows that 82.2% of graduates who undertook their training as part of an apprenticeship or traineeship were employed after training, and 86.1% of graduates were satisfied with the overall quality of training. (Source: https://www.ncver.edu.au/publications/publications/all-publications/total-vet-graduate-outcomes-2016) For those students wanting to leave school before completing year 12, in most states that means that they must be enrolled in an apprenticeship in order to leave high school. However, an apprenticeship is no longer the path only for those who want to finish high school or who didn’t get the right marks at the end. Apprenticeships offer a great system for learning and allow you to gather experience in a career full of opportunities, without having to struggle through the university system.
A new Department of Education report shows only 66.7% of university students who enrolled in 2009 completed their courses in 6 years. The worst universities for student completions have fewer than half of all enrolled students graduating within six years of beginning a course, in many cases leaving behind debts never to be repaid. University fees differ depending on degree and institution but range from $6000 to $15,000 a year. If you do finish the degree, your HECs debt can be upwards of $30-40,000 – which has to be paid back somehow.
An apprenticeship, on the other hand, is completely paid for by the employer – so the apprentice can graduate without debt or HECs fee’s hanging over their head. Since 1 January 2015, a change in legislation meant that it is the employer’s responsibility to pay for all course costs and textbooks during their apprenticeship, meaning that general day-to-day expenses as part of doing an apprenticeship are also at a minimum.
With all these figures in mind, then why are we not seeing more students undertaking apprenticeships or want to pursue a trade qualification? Apprenticeships offer a fantastic way for students to pursue a passion in a career that can offer incredible opportunities for those willing to put in the time and effort. For hair and beauty apprentices, the opportunities to work with celebrities, on the catwalk or run your own business and be your own boss are endless. Surely that has to be better than a nine-to-five under fluorescent lights. What is the conversation we need to be having with our teenagers and for our teachers to promote apprenticeships within schools?
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