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Rebranding VET in Australia

August 20, 2021

If you’re a part of the VET sector, you’re probably aware of the efforts to ‘rebrand’ VET, and you may be tired of hearing the many misconceptions of VET (we know we are). Creating a different identity for VET in the minds of all Australians has been a big goal and challenge for the sector.

‘Real skills for real careers’ – What is the VET Information Strategy? 

In 2017, the VET Information Strategy was launched at the Australian Training Awards. This strategy was aimed at addressing misconceptions around VET and promoting the opportunities that an individual can gain by completing a VET qualification[1]. The tagline ‘real skills for real careers’ was introduced as a uniting message for VET. The MySkills website was reinvigorated, with videos showcasing successful VET graduates, who are also part of the VET alumni program.

The VET Information Strategy encourages all Australians, particularly the next generation, to understand that VET is a personally, professionally and financially rewarding career choice. And, importantly, just as prized as a uni degree. 

Real skills for real careers logo

VET Information Strategy communication and marketing

One of the main insights from the research that informed the strategy is that universities have significant exposure in comparison to the VET sector. Universities are presented as a unified and meaningful higher educational offering, and its reputation compared to VET means that high school graduates may not even consider VET as a viable option for further study. 

A key objective of the strategy is to level the education playing field by changing the perception of VET. Key communications to youth (16-25) and influencers of youth (such as family, career advisors, educators and job search providers) are aimed at increasing awareness and shifting perceptions of the career pathways and opportunities that can come with studying VET. Adults (25+) seeking jobs, a career change or to re-enter the workforce, the general public and industry are also targeted. Improved government information resources aimed to counter misunderstandings about VET aims to inform about the availability of skills related government services, including VET Student Loans. 

A change of language and tone

As part of the communications strategy, how VET is described in terms of language and tone needed a change in order to elevate VET to a higher position in the minds of potential students. Switching out terms like ‘ex-student’ with ‘graduate’, and using them consistently, changes perceptions and positions VET as a first choice study option. 

Elevated vocabulary to reposition the sector[2]


‘Pay more attention or you’re going to end up digging ditches’ 

Influencers of high school students, including educators, are some of the most important people when it comes to a student's choice to VET or not to VET (that is the question). This TED Talk discusses this with a powerful anecdote – a high school teacher told one of their students that if they didn’t pay more attention, they would ‘end up digging ditches’. The story ends with that same student becoming a superintendent of a large excavation company, earning a six-figure salary and loving his job. Reframing the mindset that VET career pathways are of less value than a university degree recognises that every student has different talents and interests, and for many VET is the best path to travel.

Rethinking VET in 2021

Rebranding VET is a long-term project. This year, National Skills Week invites Australians to rethink their ideas of what VET is about and the role it can have in preparing people for work for the future, especially in a post-pandemic economy. 

The VET system has so much capability to provide flexible, lucrative and prestigious career pathways with nationally recognised qualifications and short courses, and is truly at the forefront of transferable skills. Continuing to promote VET and all of its advantages is more important than ever, and we're excited to see how the sector continues to transform and grow.

References

  1. Real Skills for Real Careers: The VET Information Strategy - MySkills
  2. Strategy outline – MySkills

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Want to learn more about the state of VET in Australia? Check out these articles on VET:eXpress:

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