Student blog: what it’s like to study a VET course in Brisbane - Choose Brisbane

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Student blog: what it’s like to study a VET course in Brisbane

Rajani Shrestha

By Rajani Shrestha

Rajani is from Kathmandu, Nepal. She is an anaesthetic tech student studying at TAFE Queensland.

After I graduated from high school in Nepal, I chose to enrol myself as a VET Student in Brisbane, rather than as a uni student. Whenever I meet a fellow international student eager to know more about the options of studying in Australia, I always proudly present myself as a VET student.

What makes VET study unique for international students? What are the potential career opportunities for VET students? In this article, I will share why I chose a VET course and what it’s like to be a VET student in Brisbane.

What is VET? How was it developed?

VET (Vocational Education and Training) is a skills-based approach designed to provide career preparation and formal qualifications to those who want to specialize in their chosen area. The clear beginning of VET started with Australian National Training Authority (ANTA) in the 1990s focusing on training policy and skills needed in the workplace. TAFE institutions are Australia’s largest VET providers. VET mainly focuses on providing skill-based technical skills rather than just theory enabling students to ground in a real-world situation. For example, if you are studying cooking, you will spend your time cooking, baking and trying out new techniques – rather than just reading about cooking.

What can I get out of studying a VET course?

With VET you can acquire nationally-recognised qualifications including certificates I to IV, diploma and advanced diplomas. It also provides pathways into the higher education sector. Once you graduate, there are chances of receiving up to two to three semesters of credit towards a related Bachelor’s degree, which can be a great cost-saving way to move towards further education. However, you have to make sure to check with your institution to find out what arrangements are available. 

Rajani Shrestha

You can enrol as a VET student nationally or internationally with average scores. Therefore, if you are unable to make it to University after school, VET is a great option.

Research has found that VET graduates are 2.5 times more likely than those with a master’s degree or a PhD to have a permanent job. Work placement is a mandatory component of most VET courses. Therefore, you are made to learn the exact skills you need for your dream job. Also, it provides you with information regarding traineeship positions available in your related field where you get paid for your work even before you finish your course. You'll be able to work and intern and see how these experiences influence your career. VET courses are all about making you more employable.

My experience as an international VET student in Brisbane

The decision to study abroad, away from family, was already a big step for me at the age of 19. Anaesthetic technology is a new subject that most of Nepalese are unaware of. The high demand in Australia for anaesthesia-related professions added another aspect which persuaded me to enrol in this course.  After research, I found out that Tafe Queensland (one of the largest VET providers in Australia) provides this course at an affordable price. Thus, my destination to become an anaesthetic technician started from TAFE.

As a VET student, I need to spend a total of 360 hours (120 hours per semester) on placement. This created a chance for me to figure out what exactly I wanted to do for my future career. I’m doing my placement at the Prince Charles Hospital, where I’m being trained and supervised by professional anaesthetic technicians. As a trainee, I try my best to make patients feel as comfortable as possible, to prepare for their surgery, no matter how simple or complex. I also assist anesthesiologists by providing necessary equipment and medication for surgeries. I still remember when I saw the pumping of the real heart of a patient for the first time during cardiac surgery at the placement. To be honest, it can be scary at times for a first-year student, but it is opportunities like this that force you to apply your knowledge in real work situations and grow fast.

Rajani Shrestha

Being trained in an Australian workplace dealing with real everyday situations is not only an opportunity to train my professional skills, I get to practice my soft skills including communication skills, teamwork and taking initiative, which is essential to my professional development.

As a VET course can be a pathway to higher education, I am planning to take this course to the next level by getting a degree in the same field after I finish my course.

If you are wondering about the perfect VET course for you in Queensland, you can find them through the Queensland Skills Gateway. Or else you can find registered training organisations suitable for you through My Skills or training.gov.au.

In a world where the job market changes so quickly, the skills employers require are getting more and more diverse and practical. It is essential to follow industry trends closely and to take responsibility for your own professional development. VET courses offer you a chance to follow this undeniably-wise advice: “Find out what you like doing best and get someone to pay you for doing it.”

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