Vocational Education and Training courses

Information and resources for your and your child to help navigate applying for a Vocational Education and Training (VET) course in NSW.

What is VET?

Vocational Education and Training or VET offers a faster job-focused pathway to a career compared to a three-year bachelor degree. VET provides students with first-hand experience in the workplace through an apprenticeship or traineeship. This gives them the right skills for the world and allows them quicker entry into paid work.

VET qualifications can provide students with a choice of more than 500 careers. Students can pursue a VET qualification through a public provider, like TAFE NSW, or a private provider.

What courses does VET include?

Unlike going to university, students don’t need an ATAR to do a VET course.

There may be minimum qualifications, but they may relate more to other factors, such as knowledge, skills and other relevant qualities.

VET courses cover a broad range of industries, such as:

  • administration
  • retail
  • tourism & hospitality
  • construction
  • utilities
  • community services & health
  • transport
  • mining
  • manufacturing
  • technology.

The NSW Government currently subsidises over 780 VET qualifications. There are also more than 120 fee-free apprenticeship courses.

More information about courses and eligibility can be found at Smart and Skilled.

How long do VET courses last?

VET courses vary in length:

  • Certificates I–IV range from six months to two years
  • Diploma courses typically take one or two years
  • Advanced diplomas usually take between 18 months to two years
  • A graduate certificate typically takes six months to one year
  • A graduate diploma usually takes between one and two years.

Apprenticeships and traineeships

Apprenticeships and traineeships typically combine work with training and may be a requirement of your child's VET course. However, they can also apply for a VET course without needing to do an apprenticeship or traineeship.

Your child will gain a nationally recognised qualification when they complete an apprenticeship or a traineeship.

They can enrol in an apprenticeship for three or four years, while traineeships last for one or two years.

Your child can begin studying for an apprenticeship or traineeship at school by commencing a School Based Apprenticeship or Traineeship (SBAT).


  • For more details on choosing a VET qualification, visit Skills NSW.
  • To learn about current government subsidies for VET courses and qualifications, visit Smart and Skilled.
  • If your child is interested in starting an apprenticeship or traineeship while they're at school, visit the SBAT website.


  • Communication and engagement


  • Back to school
  • Pathways to work

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  • Communication and Engagement
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