WHEN you're looking to either get ahead in your current career, or start in an entirely new direction, it's not likely that you'll be able to waltz straight into a new job.
You'll probably need some sort of qualification or certification. If you're looking for a new career direction, this is even more likely. If you want to take the next step from your current role, additional training or a new qualification will be an asset in your quest.
Essentially, you have three options - training through a registered training organisation, or heading off to TAFE or university. The option you choose will depend on your goals, the industry you work in, and the amount of time you can commit. Reaching your career goal might consist of one or a combination of pathways.
Registered training organisations
An RTO is an organisation that provides and assesses nationally recognised and accredited training, at certificate, diploma or short course level. Any qualification you earn through an RTO is recognised and valid in any state. If, for example, you were considering looking for work in the mines, you might use an RTO's services to complete your general induction ticket, heavy machinery licensing, or a first aid course.
TAFE institutes provide training for vocational career pathways - think areas like hospitality, trades and services. Vocational training, also known as VET, refers to training that applies to a specific employment outcome.
If you decide you want to be a hairdresser, you'd go to TAFE and study the courses that qualify you to do exactly that.
Heading to university is a big decision - it's a time commitment, and a financial one (although the study costs can be deferred until after you've graduated).
I don't mean a large time commitment in the week-to-week sense, but in that you'll be signing on for, most likely, three years of study. University differs from TAFE in that where TAFE equips you with the skills for a specific job, university prepares you for work in a broader field - a Bachelor of Science degree would make you employable in a wide range of roles, without having studied specifically for one in particular.
Up-skilling is vital
Fundamental skill sets, cross-training and up-skilling are vital to the future of the construction industry, says Vern Wills, managing director and CEO of Site Skills Training. Mr Wills said employers were looking for versatile, well-rounded workers, not just basic trade qualifications. "We look at the emphasis on 'skills shortages' as comparison to 'occupation shortages', as a result of the changing way in which larger construction projects are now operated," he said. "In this sense it is no longer cut and dry to just have traditional trade occupations for larger projects, as the focus is shifting to underlying competencies. "Underlying competencies consist of short courses such as working at heights, confined spaces, dogging, rigging, scaffolding forklift, elevating work platforms and so on, a combination of which allow persons to undertake their role in a dynamic worksite environment," Mr Wills said. "As a sparky, for example, one day you may be fixing lights to the roof of a high-ceilinged lobby, the next you could be negotiating trees on a narrow city walkway to wire external lighting. "These two tasks alone would require a white card, working at heights and elevating work platform competencies, and when you start to look at industrial construction projects, the requirements become more complex," he said. Site Skills Training delivers skills training for a large number of companies and project contractors within the construction industry.
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