For various reasons, international students who are seeking Australian education may not enter into a bachelor degree right away. Entry requirements may not be met or an international student may want to dip their toes in the water before committing to a full degree.
Some international students, seeking an Australian education participate in Australian Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses instead of a bachelor’s degree and still gain valuable knowledge and skills that can be applied to the workforce.
VET courses hands on industry experience
VET courses are offered by Technical and Further Education (TAFE) institutes, private colleges or Registered Training Organisations (RTOs).
One form of Australian education that many international students choose to take is a VET course which is a sector based on the partnership between the Australian government and industry. VET courses are a great option as they often have hands-on industry experience and are a great form of Australian education that prepares international students for the workforce.
Types of VET qualifications
This form of Australian education includes the following types of qualifications for international students:
Certificate I-IV (teaching introductory skills and vary from 6 months to a year).
Diplomas (preparing international students for their industry of choice and usually take 1-2 years).
Advanced diplomas (for advanced skills and can be used towards university courses, around 1.5-2 years in length).
VET courses are much cheaper than University degrees
Another benefit for international students studying a VET course instead of a university degree is the price difference, VET courses vary between $4000 to $22,000 per year (not including the cost of living) which is much cheaper than a university degree.
Entry requirements for this Australian education also vary. Most VET courses require the equivalent of Australian Year 10, 11 and 12 but in addition, some courses may require something more specific to the course such as a portfolio for an art course.
TAFE institutes that offer this Australian education are Holmesglen in Melbourne, Victoria which offer international students courses such as Engineering, Digital Media, Hairdressing, Education and much more. Another Melbourne TAFE if the Kangan Institute which is one of the most well-known Australian education providers. Kangan Institute offers international students 5 different campus locations and many courses ranging from Automotive to Visual Merchandising.
If you are an international student seeking Australian education in New South Wales, TAFE NSW has 10 different study regions and offers international students over 300 certificate, diploma, and advanced diploma courses. Alternatively, TAFE Queensland offers international students over 15 study areas with over 180 courses and really helps students prepare for life in Australia.
Means to acquire hands-on experience
Regardless of what city, state or territory in Australia an international student may want to study, students who are seeking an Australian education will find that VET courses are a fantastic option to gain hands-on experience for the workforce or to use as a pathway into an Australian University.
As an international student, it is of interest to know what the options are to stay in Australia after completing higher education. Luckily there are a few options for international students such as completing further studies, applying for permanent residency or applying to extend the time spent living in Australia.
One option for international students to stay in Australia after completing higher education studies is to complete further studies such as an honours year, master’s degree or doctoral degree. International students will need to apply and successfully gain entry into their course of choice. International students will then need to apply for a new visa, extend their student health cover and ensure they have enough money to continue their stay.
To continue to work or study in Australia, international students can apply for permanent residency. International students will need to have their skills assessed by the Department of Immigration and Border Protections Skilled Migration Program and then may be invited to apply for a visa.
One visa that includes permanent residency for international students is the Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189) which is a visa for workers who are skilled and have been points-tests and who are not sponsored by an employer or family member or have been nominated by a state or territory government.
Other permanent visa options for international students are the Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186) or the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (subclass 187). If an international student is not sent an invitation to apply for a visa they can always apply to temporarily stay in Australia.
International students may wish to apply to temporarily stay in Australia after completing their higher education. There are many visa options for international students, one of which is for international students who may wish to travel around Australia. International students can apply for a tourist visa or even a working holiday visa if they wish to work while traveling.
Another option is to apply for a Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485). This visa is for international students who have graduated and wish to stay in Australia temporarily.
If you are an international student seeking to stay in Australia after completing higher studies, it is important to look into your options well before you graduate. Universities have many online and on-campus features to help international students so the process is as smooth as possible.
Another way to familiarize yourself with the processes is by checking in with the Department of Immigration and Border Protections website and studying the protocols and options. Whether you are an international student looking to complete further studies, get started in the workforce, travel or become a permanent resident, there are options out there for you.
When a member of this Career GroupPlan was on a short bus tour in the outskirts of Sydney, a South Asian looking young man in his thirties sat beside me. Looking at me, he asked: “what do you do in Australia?”. I replied: “I do research and teaching at a University”. He then poured a range of questions at me:
“I am from India. My brother wants to study Engineering in Australia. Which University is good? Here can he get a scholarship? Where can we get all these information?……….
“Hang on’, I said to him, adding, “There is a range of Universities, colleges, and courses in Sydney and Australia”. I told him further that there are scholarship opportunities too but the student should thoroughly check the websites of the universities and other scholarship providers for the accurate information. The person then asked for my mobile number and I provided it though I was a bit hesitant but he was too keen and enthusiastic not give it. “I will give you a call soon, uncle” – he left the bus.
How smart is this boy, I thought later. But I also found him too naive at the same time. If he is interested in Australian education and if he is already in Australia for an Information Technology (IT) related short- term work, then why is he not able to get information? Why does he have to rely on a fellow passenger in a local bus? Luckily, he got a university academic like me to talk and also a person kind enough to share the mobile number just in an encounter of five minutes.
“Hello uncle, I am xxx”, I received a call from him when he was back to India. He asked for more information about admission, scholarship, university and others. The call came at a time when I was about to start working, so told him that he referred to the pages of five different Universities in Sydney.
This brief encounter with a person seeking information on Australian education has left me wondering about a few questions.
I asked myself: Why are people so keen to come to Australia for higher studies from developing countries? I gathered some answers to these questions through some reflections. Young people in the developing world know that Australia has not only a reputed English medium education, but it also has good post-study opportunities for jobs and migration.
While interests and demands are high, the service industry seems to be still poorly responsive. Many students in the developing world are still not used to carefully reviewing the websites, online information, much less making email inquiries.
Several of the emails I received over the past six months asking me if I can supervise PhD or Masers degree research coming from various developing countries, I found this emails either incomplete or unclear. All of these emails were not framed to impress the prospective supervisor or the admission officers in the university.
Many developing country students know Australia is a good place for higher studies but they are not quite sure how they can navigate information, how they can find the best and relevant information and the like.
I have met several other students in Sydney who regret having chosen a particular place, course, University or a degree. They all feel about the incorrect decisions they made in choosing these aspects of their education project. “I just thought about coming to Australia, and did not look carefully at details of where and how of the course”. “If I knew more information, I would have taken a different course and a different University:”, said a student of a low-ranking University student of Nepal origin.
Despite internet revolution, students in the countries of origin have not been able to make full use of the available information. Perhaps they are flooded with too much information that is not directly relevant to them. They look for information on courses, jobs, financial aids and cheap accommodations, but education service industry is dominated by predatory consultants who grab students and put them in a course without offering adequate advice and information.
Universities themselves rely on costly intermediary agents to sell admissions, while they do too little to reach out prospective students and offer advice directly.
What is needed is providers of independent advice from those without any direct interests to enrol students in a specific course or an education provider. Independent career advice platform with such goal could be of great help to this end.
As an international student, it is a great benefit to find an Australian job to help ease the cost of living while studying. International students have the option to include family members (spouse, de-facto partner, and children) on their visa application so it is important to know if family members can seek an Australian job as well.
How many hours can you work as a student?
International students are able to work at an Australian job a total of 40 hours a fortnight while their study is in session. International students are not able to work an Australian job until their study has commenced, and are able to work unlimited hours when their study is not in session (e.g. during semester break).
Volunteer work and any work that is a part of the course requirement is not included in this 40 hours. Once international students have commenced masters degree by research or doctoral degree, they are able to work unlimited hours in an Australian job.
How many hours can your family members work?
Family members of an international student are able to work 40 hours a fortnight once the study has commenced (if they have obtained their visa after 2008).
If the international student is studying a masters or doctoral degree, the family members can work unlimited hours in an Australian job. Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) is an online service that can be used at any time by international students and their family members to stay track of what hours they can work at their Australian job.
Know your job rights before you start to work
It is important for international students and their family members to know their rights when obtaining an Australian job.
A fair rate of pay is mandatory, so students and family members should never get paid cash in hand or free on a trial basis.
The Fair Work Ombudsman is a great website to familiarize students and family members, who are seeking an Australian job, with their rights.
To make things easier, it is a good idea to open an Australian bank account and applying for a Tax File Number before applying for an Australian job.
Potential workplaces for you and your family
Common Australian jobs that international students and their family’s work are retail positions, hospitality, services (such as a petrol station) or in the industry that the student is studying. Most universities have online and on-campus services that can help international students and their families obtain an Australian job.