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What is Technical and Further Education in Australia?

For most Aussies, TAFE is shorthand for all non-degree studies. But what is TAFE and how can studying at a TAFE institution help you find a career. Let's take a closer look at TAFE studies in Australia and the opportunities they offer to domestic and international students.

Sep 6, 2023
  • Study Abroad
What is Technical and Further Education in Australia?
Australia, the Gold coast, Surfers Paradise

For most Aussies, TAFE is shorthand for all non-degree studies. But what is TAFE and how can studying at a TAFE institution help you find a career. Let's take a closer look at TAFE studies in Australia and the opportunities they offer to domestic and international students.

What is TAFE?

TAFE, or technical and further education studies, are vocational or certification programs provided by the National Training System of Australia (VET). The programs operate under the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) and include everything from engineering and construction to hospitality, winemaking, and the arts. Unlike the Australian university system, which is federally funded, TAFE institutes and colleges are generally funded and run by the governments of individual Australian states or territories. The TAFE system is designed to offer certificate and diploma qualifications but has also begun awarding bachelor's degrees and post-graduate diplomas in some fields. The TAFE system also works as an entry point for students wishing to earn credit towards a university-awarded bachelor's degree, and in some instances students can transfer relevant TAFE credits to full degree programs. TAFE institutions are geographically organized and often concentrate on one specific field or a series of related subjects.

Why should you choose TAFE?

TAFE programs are well-respected and trusted in Australia and around the world, and there are many benefits to choosing a TAFE program. These include small class sizes, comprehensive study support and guidance, a variety of course options, and direct links with universities and degree programs. Because TAFE programs offer both further education for professionals and full certification programs for beginning students, they are an excellent choice regardless of where you are in your career trajectory. Many programs are flexible and allow professionals to enhance their career opportunities through further qualifications or skill-development, but TAFE programs are also a great place to start your studies. TAFE programs usually have transfer agreements with universities that allow students to progress to full degree courses at universities. In most cases, TAFE programs include hands-on experience and certification in your chosen field, which means that you'll enter a degree-course with relevant skills and training.

Portrait Of Female Student In Classroom With Digital Tablet

And while professional development and transfer agreements are an important part
of the TAFE system, its link with industry and business sectors is even more vital. In many instances, TAFE programs come from the direct initiative of a specific industry, and TAFE institutions work with industry sectors to develop programs and course content that are current and industry-specific. This means that students in TAFE programs learn relevant and specialized skills that transfer directly to the job market. TAFE programs have their fingers on the pulse of emerging industries and business fields, so students who choose TAFE programs make a smart and secure investment in their futures.

Where should you study?

Programs operate under regional TAFE providers, and institutes are spread throughout the states and territories of Australia, giving students many options. Here are a few fantastic TAFE institutes to consider:

TAFE Illawarra

TAFE Illawarra is a trusted, government-owned training provider. It’s the region's leading TAFE NSW Institute, boasting 14 campuses across southern NSW from the beach, to mountain towns and winter snowfields. TAFE Illawarra’s main city, Wollongong, has been voted as Australia’s Top Small City for Students by the website Student Cities. Students will enjoy learning from expert educators who are focused on helping individuals reach their potential in a supportive environment. Here's what you'll find at TAFE Illawarra:

· a relaxed, welcoming regional community culture

· a wide range of courses, from Certificates through to Degrees

· internationally-recognised qualifications

· hands-on, industry-relevant training

· state-of-the-art learning facilities

· strong connections with employers and industry

· support services to help you reach your study goals

· highly-qualified, world-class educators

North Coast TAFE

North Coast TAFE (NCT) is part of one of Australia's largest training providers, TAFE New South Wales. NCT has great resources for students and grants both certificate and degree programs. Here's what NCT has on offer:

· a friendly, community-oriented campus in beautiful New South Wales

· business and community partnerships for real-world experience

· state-of-the-art facilities and modern resources

· professional guidance and instruction

· simulation and hands-on training

· online courses

· on-the-job training

NMIT and Melbourne Polytechnic

North Melbourne Institute of TAFE (NMIT) has been in operation since 1912 and offers training and vocational courses, as well as full-degrees in specialist fields. NMIT aims to provide students with industry-relevant skills and information to maximize career and employment potential. The institute has campuses and facilities throughout the Melbourne metropolitan area and the state of Victoria. The benefits of studying at NMIT include:

Classes on the milling cutters, bearings and mechanical diagrams

· industry-developed courses and training

· a variety of courses, certification, degrees, and location

· flexible enrollment

· credit-transfer programs

· international recognition

· opportunities for funding and work-study grants

· English-language training

Other exceptional training providers to start your career with are TAFE Hunter and TAFE Sydney in New South Wales and a number of TAFE institutes in Western Australia.

So, whether you're an Australian domestic student or an international student, whether you are starting your studies or need to enhance your existing skills, whether you want to earn a certificate or a full degree, Australia's TAFE system may be the perfect way to further your career goals. Read more about studying in Australia here.