The new way to get a good job is avoiding university

December 3, 2018

An alternative option to university is giving jobseekers the qualifications and skills for a white collar career – and they’re being paid to learn on the job.

AUSTRALIA’S intake of higher level apprenticeships will more than double next year, providing an alternative pathway to jobs that previously were only for university graduates.

The qualifications available through higher apprenticeships will extend to bachelor degrees by 2020, with predictions that a university education will soon be considered second rate.

PricewaterhouseCoopers national skills leader Sara Caplan says combining earning and learning, in which workers develop new skills on-the-job, is a style suited to the future of work.

“We are going to see less desire for young people to want to spend the next four years studying, and then thinking about which job they’re going to do and … see a move towards work-based, short qualifications that people can do,’’ she says.

In a national pilot, designed to encourage those without a university education to take up careers in the professional, business, IT and financial services sectors, more than 160 people this year started an apprenticeship to gain a diploma, advanced diploma or associate diploma qualification.

Caplan says 94 per cent of higher apprentices successfully completed their training – compared with two-thirds of university students who complete their degrees within six years and about half of traditional apprentices and trainees who finish their training.

Now the pilot has finished, Caplan says states and territories will take responsibility for the continuation of higher apprenticeships.

She says it will create further opportunities for more higher apprentices to train, adding that discussions have also focused on increasing the range of professions on offer.

“I would definitely say the number (of higher apprenticeships available) will at least double next year,’’ Caplan says.

“We’ve also been speaking to a number of universities that are very keen to be involved in … offering degree-level apprenticeships, so I would say that they will more fully investigated next year and be delivered the year after.’’

TAFE Queensland Gold Coast partnered with PwC and Gold Coast Health to offer higher apprenticeships.

TAFE Queensland Gold Coast region general manager Karen Dickinson says the training offers greater flexibility and choice for school leavers entering the workforce, while also allowing existing workers the opportunity to progress their careers.

“(Higher apprenticeships) offer the perfect sort of training, in that you are in the workplace and what you are learning is directly related to what you are doing on a day-in, day-out basis,’’ Dickinson says.

“The students (who completed the higher apprenticeships) have a lot more clarity and confidence about their skills – they feel like there’s a whole lot of doors that this will open.’’

Gold Coast Health acting facility manager Julie Elliott gained a Diploma of Leadership and Management through a higher apprenticeship.

She says tailoring the training to her specific workplace requirements helped improve her leadership skills.

“I am currently acting in a senior role and this program gave me the confidence to make that happen,’’ Elliott says.

“The training was also a great networking opportunity, exposing us to other business units and we gained a greater appreciation for the business and each other’s roles.”