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CMAWA News

CARPENTRY apprentices are almost $110,000 better off than a university arts graduate at the end of their training.

In the latest bid to show vocational education and training graduates do as well – if not better – than their university counterparts, comparisons have been made between a four-year carpentry apprenticeship and a Bachelor of Arts degree.

The After the ATAR report, produced by post-schooling option website Year 13, reveals for three years, the Arts student incurs a $6750 tuition fee a year, culminating in a $20,250 debt.

Under the ‘earn while you learn’ principles of VET, the carpentry apprentice starts training on a salary of $25,713, rising to more than $40,100 in the final year, totalling $129,588 over a four-year apprenticeship

“It’s become Australian folklore that if you want to be successful in work you have got to go to university but the statistics are telling us that’s not the case,’’ says TAFE NSW managing director Jon Black.

“If you go down to the boat ramps on the weekend, the ones with brand new jet skis and boats are the ones working in the skills industries – they’re not the professionals.

“(The financial advantages of VET are) are across the board.

“The starting salaries for demolition experts is $2100 a week.

“A shotcreter (who lines tunnels with concrete spray to stop rocks falling down on traffic) can earn $200,000 a year.

“We have to celebrate vocational pathways, not denigrate them.

“It’s not doing us any favours by being known as the provider of learning for the last resort – we’re actually the number one option for people.’

Black is astounded at the number of students who enrol in university to train for a career path that is also attainable through VET.

For example, financial planners can enter their profession through a traineeship and be paid while they learn, or they can undertake an undergraduate accounting degree, followed by a masters degree in financial planning – an option Black says “will probably take you seven years (to complete, all the time) incurring fees’’.

A comparison between VET and university pathways conducted by Construction Skills Queensland several years ago found construction project managers were $64,000 better off taking the vocational training route.

For example, financial planners can enter their profession through a traineeship and be paid while they learn, or they can undertake an undergraduate accounting degree, followed by a masters degree in financial planning – an option Black says “will probably take you seven years (to complete, all the time) incurring fees’’.

A comparison between VET and university pathways conducted by Construction Skills Queensland several years ago found construction project managers were $64,000 better off taking the vocational training route.

CSQ industry services general manager Susan Armstrong believes more pathways to construction project manager roles now make it difficult to do a current financial comparison but says research shows satisfaction levels among VET students is high.

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