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Consider TAFE as a plan A when it comes to engineering

Report finds TAFE is better for job prospects and income than university degrees in engineering.

TAFE vs Uni has been the great debate for many years, with university often getting classed as the elite educational pathway choice. Contrary to this popular belief, findings from a recent report by the Grattan Institute show that men who enter into a vocational qualification in trade areas such as engineering, result in a significantly higher average earning salary than those with a degree qualification. 


Over the past decade, the number of students enrolling into university courses has continually increased. This increase has come at the expense of vocational education, with dwindling numbers of students in classes – despite the well-known national skills shortage for many trades-based careers. With the national skills shortage continually on the rise, there is a clear demand for qualified, skilled workers to fill these jobs.  

The same report also finds that students who had particularly low ATAR scores in school were getting accepted into university but weren’t receiving the financial benefits of higher education compared to the higher ATAR students. In instances such as this, the report finds that these students would have been better off going to TAFE, suggesting they have a higher chance of succeeding in a vocational occupation. Coupled with research that proves TAFE graduates achieve higher first year salaries on average than university graduates, it shows that there are an array of lucrative careers that don’t require a university degree. 

It’s also been noted that many parents still believe that university is the right route for all students. Yet, parents should recognise that students learn in different ways, and a lot of students are not academically inclined, but they are practical learners who require a ‘hands-on’ learning approach. The belief that university is always the better choice really needs to be reconsidered, and school leavers should explore what industries they are interested in and how they best suit certain learning environments. 

In a climate where many jobs are diminishing with the advances in technology, it’s important to be strategic in your career decision.

Are you interested in delving into a career of the future?

South Metropolitan TAFE’s (SM TAFE) engineering courses focus on job-ready skills, hands-on learning and becoming industry ready so that you can walk into the workplace and know how to get the job done effectively and with confidence. SM TAFE’s engineering and automation pathways offer the opportunity for you to work in a field that is challenging, growing, in-demand and lucrative! 

When you receive an Advanced Diploma of Engineering (MEM60112) from SM TAFE you’ll be able to work as an engineering associate around the world. Engineers Australia recognises the Advanced Diploma of Engineering and allows graduates to work as Engineering Associates in countries that are signatories to the Dublin Accord including the UK, USA, Canada, Ireland, South Korea, New Zealand and South Africa. 

Applications are now open for Semester 1, 2020! SM TAFE offers qualifications from entry level Certificate II through to Advanced Diploma. Search our website for engineering courses or visit the engineering industry page to find a course for you and start your study journey with us in 2020! 


Page last updated September 05, 2019