As Australia’s second-largest employing industry, the Health and Community Services sector shows no signs of slowing anytime soon. For those looking to jump in, Vocational Education and Training (VET) is a fast-tracked way to get you there.
But don’t just take it from us. Barwon Health, a healthcare provider in Victoria, has had great success working with VET students.
Yvonne Hewitt, Director of Clinical Education and Training, works with education providers to place VET graduates in a wide variety of roles.
“We’ve always valued our VET students in healthcare because the design of our workforce requires many roles and different skills that come from all pathways,” Yvonne says.
For those interested in working in the sector, Yvonne says there are many different pathways available. VET can suit everyone from school leavers to people looking to learn new skills or switch careers.
“It’s easy to immediately think of qualifications such as Diploma of Nursing or Health Services Assistance, but the healthcare workforce is so diverse that there are a wide range of roles that people enter through a VET pathway,” Yvonne says.
Practical skills get you work ready
The real-world immersion offered through VET also means graduates are ready to put their skills to use straight away.
“VET tends to have a focus on practical skills. Placements provide a rich and valuable opportunity for students to bring their learning out of the classroom and apply it in real-world situations,” says Yvonne.
“I’ve seen a real increase in quality and rigor of the VET sector over time, which gives everybody confidence in the graduates the sector is producing.”
In the healthcare sector, this application of theory is critical for future employment. It helps students deepen their understanding and apply their skills beyond the walls of a classroom.
“Working in teams and interacting with patients, residents and clients is fundamental to providing good care and services,” Yvonne states.
“Students gain essential experience working at a 1:1 or team level with people during some of their most vulnerable moments; they develop interpersonal skills for effective teamwork, and they get a sense of what it means to work within a large and complex system like healthcare.”
One course, many opportunities
If you're interested in healthcare, but unsure where exactly you want to go, VET can also act as a stepping-stone to your next destination.
Phillipa Power, Collaborative Recruitment Manager at Barwon Health, has plenty of advice for uncertain students.
“If you're interested in helping people, then taking on a VET course within health is a really good way to find out what you like without having to commit to the expense of a bachelor program,” she says.
Rejoining the workforce after a break?
It isn’t just school leavers who can reap the benefits of a VET course either. Whether students want to move into a different career, are re-joining the workforce after a break or want to upskill, VET offers the perfect start.
“VET courses aren’t just for people coming straight from school. They're often parents returning to work or people looking for a complete change of career.” Phillipa says.
“It’s a new start for many people. And for many people, it's also incredibly validating of their choice.”
Healthcare is hiring now and in the future
For anyone set on pursuing healthcare through a VET course, Phillipa confirms the stability of the sector.
“The opportunities are so vast in terms of the range of areas that you can work and it's a sector that's never going to go away. It’s very secure employment in that sense,” she says.
VET’s flexible, practical approach offers students a stable, rewarding future.
The My Skills website can help you find the right VET course to take your first step in Health and Community Services. Find out more at the My Skills website at www.myskills.gov.au