With just over 1200 secondary students enrolled in Charles Darwin University (CDU) programs in first semester, VET in Schools (VETiS) is one of the fastest growing areas of VET delivered by the University.
Second semester marks the recommencement of CDU-provided VET training in secondary schools across the Territory, with NT DEET currently funding 57 programs (570 student places) provided by the University.
In semester one 30 of these programs in 44 secondary schools and community education centres across the Territory with huge demand, resulted in an additional 700 places being funded through alternative sources.
VETiS training is a national initiative encouraging school age students to experience skill acquisition that could lead to a career after leaving school and fits into the NT DEET Transition from School to Work strategy.
In the NT school students pursue VETiS subjects for a number of reasons: VETiS subjects are recognised as an alternative to gain subject points toward the Northern Territory Certificate of Education (NTCE) or toward the South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE).
VETiS provides an avenue for many students not intending to pursue an academic career to commence vocational studies that will provide credit toward full time study after leaving school. In contrast, a large number of students who do intend to pursue academic careers participate in additional VETiS subjects as a means of securing part-time employment whilst attending university. Perhaps the most popular are the hospitality programs that allow students to work as wait and bar staff after leaving school.
Senior advisor, school to VET programs, Lyle Mellors, explained that conducting VETiS across the Territory is an exercise in logistical management: “CDU conducts VETiS training in each of the major urban centres in the NT and in remote communities across the width and breadth of the whole Territory.”
In Central Australia, much of the remote delivery is conducted through the University’s three MALU units. MALU, standing for Mobile Adult Learning Unit, are pan-technical classroom/workshop units that are transported to the remote location usually for one term training sessions.
In the north, because of limited access during the Wet season, training takes place by lecturers driving or flying to communities.