How to upskill with VET without pausing your income

With Vocational Education and Training, you can continue to earn an income while you gain a qualification. 


For Alicea, merging Vocational Education and Training (VET) with paid work through a traineeship was the breakthrough her career needed.

“I’ve gone from trainee to a full-time permanent position and now a promotion and second Certificate in just over two years. VET has allowed me to earn and learn real world skills!”

While Alicea chose to do a traineeship in business, the unique thing about VET is that there’s no ‘one size fits all’ approach.

VET qualifications are made up of core and elective units, providing flexibility to build your training around your work goals. That means gaining skills to progress in your career, potentially without stepping away from paid employment.


What flexibility can look like with VET

1.    Undertaking a traineeship to break into a new career fast

In a traineeship, you don’t have to wait to start working in the industry you want.

As soon as Tyrone began a traineeship with SBS, he was picking up a camera and filming stories for the broadcaster.

Finishing his training earned him a Certificate IV in Screen and Media and launched his career in the industry. Now Tyrone has landed a permanent role broadcasting for SBS and presenting for Triple J!

Key benefits of a traineeship:

  • You are employed by a real workplace in the industry.
  • You will learn how to do a job while getting paid for your work.
  • They can be part-time or full-time.
  • You can work towards a career while learning the skills needed.
  • Anyone can undertake a traineeship at any age.


Traineeships typically take around one to two years. Plus, you'll learn the skills needed for success from people who do the job every day.

Industries you can enter with traineeships include:


2. Choosing an apprenticeship to get qualified for a trade and earn while you learn

Apprenticeships involve training, but they’re also a job. You get paid a wage that increases every year over the duration of your training.

When qualified architect Richard wanted to start building the designs he drew, an apprenticeship in Carpentry was the answer.

An apprenticeship made Richard's mid-career skills boost easier. It allowed him to still earn an income while up-skilling.

“I had a general knowledge about how everything worked together, but it wasn’t until actually working on site and being with other builders I was able to fill in the gaps,” he said.

Key benefits of an apprenticeship:

  • You will learn through real practice and get specific, job-ready skills needed for work in that field
  • You get paid a wage that increases as you become more  skilled
  • You will attend training like you would a job
  • Apprenticeships can be part-time or full-time
  • Anyone can undertake an apprenticeship at any age.


An apprentice learns all the skills needed to be competent in the job, and 94% of all trade completers are employed securely  by the end of their training.

A few of the industries you can enter with apprenticeships include:

  • Building and Construction
  • Mechanical Engineering trades
  • Telecommunication trades
  • Commercial Cookery


3. Using VET to progress in your career while staying in current employment

The benefit of part-time and online VET courses means you don’t have to take time out of your current career to continue your training.

For hospital receptionist Nicola – who was in her mid 40’s when she started VET – fitting a Diploma of Nursing into a busy life wasn’t as hard as it first seemed.

The flexibility of VET meant that Nicola could continue working in the healthcare industry in patient care, while studying Nursing at TAFE.

The result? Nicola built her skills and made a leap into a new career without taking a pay cut or time off to do it.

“My family were very proud of me and now I'm an Enrolled Nurse and I'm loving it.”


Making VET work for you

You can get paid while making a career switch, upskill while staying in your current role or dip your toes in with part-time and online options.

Whichever way you make VET work for you, the result is the same. You will gain job-ready skills that can unlock new roles, higher wages, and greater opportunities.


Find the VET Course that fits your life now on the My Skills website.