Real Skills for Real Careers up in lights as Australia celebrates National Skills Week


Sep 03, 2018

Minister for Small and Family Business, Skills and Vocational Education, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash launched 2018 National Skills Week at William Blue College of Hospitality and Management in Sydney last week announcing the week as a celebration of the opportunities vocational education and training (VET) provides through providing Australians with real skills for real careers

In a post-event interview, Senator Cash addressed one key issue of the sector, its profile, acknowledging the work of real skills for real careers and the Australian VET Alumni in raising the status of VET. 

“One of the issues that has been raised with me is the profile of VET. Sometimes it is just not seen as a choice. Not just by young people, but those that need to pick up a new skill, or move into a new career.

“That is something I want to work closely with the sector on, and in particular the Australian VET Alumni - you can't be it, if you can't see it! 

“We have some fantastic VET Alumni out there that we need to showcase to Australians so that when you are thinking of career education, you think of VET." Senator Cash said.

A range of activities were held around the country during National Skills Week to shine a light the many real skills for real careers achieved through VET.

Throughout the week, the Australian VET Alumni were active around the country, speaking at conferences, primary and secondary schools and appearing in the media to encourage others to consider a VET qualification. Kicking off National Skills Week, Alumnus Rachael Turner featured in Queensland’s Courier Mail, and explained her journey from university trained classical pianist to builder.

“Find something that completes you because if you are spending the main portion of your hours in a job, it is important you are passionate about it,” Rachael said.

Australian VET Alumni Fiona Shewring and her not for profit organisation Supporting and Linking Tradeswomen (SALT) visited schools and community organisations during National Skills Week as part of the organisation’s wider workshop series to teach women and girls how to build and create with tools.

"We're basically giving people confidence to actually go 'I can do this — it's not something that I can't do'. And that makes a difference," Fiona said.

SALT have delivered hundreds of these workshops across Australia since they commenced in the initiative in 2012, and rely on other Australian VET Alumni members and volunteers to be part of teaching the workshops and encourage young women and girls to consider Australian Apprenticeships and VET.

Fellow Australian VET Alumni and Director and Founder of Tradeswomen Australia, Fiona Lawrie, hosted a Cubby House Challenge at Melbourne’s Kangan Institute. The contestants comprised of Australian Apprentices across traditional trades who worked together to build a liveable cubby house. The event attracted hundreds of school-aged children and their teachers across the two-day event, visiting the competition to see real skills for real careers in action. Painter Karly Gaffy, Carpenter Tahlia Dowie, Bricklayer Kyle Forde and Plumber Millie White took home the top prize.

The week ended with a bang, with the monumental National Rugby League (NRL) Round 25 clash between the Gold Coast Titans and the North Queensland Cowboys at CBUS Stadium being themed, real skills for real careers.

The VET sector’s unifying tagline, and the theme of National Skills Week, was on show to a sell-out crowd packing the stands, with videos starring NRL players who have achieved real skills for real careers through VET. The game also hosted a number of former NRL players and Australian VET Alumni to share their VET success to stories, including Luke Williamson, Brad Meyers, Luke Covell, Ray Thompson and Matt Ballin.

For more information about the range of career pathways that VET offers, visit the My Skills Career Info page.