Extra TAFE tuition boosts students' chances

Merrylands High School year 12 students will hit the ground running when they graduate with a TAFE qualification and an ATAR.

Cindy Balaz and Linda Draybi are among about 2400 HSC students who have chosen a TAFE-delivered vocational education and training course, or TVET, at TAFE's South West Sydney Institute.

Cindy chose to study human services at Wetherill Park TAFE. This will enable her to work as an Assistant in Nursing while completing a university degree in the field when she graduates.

"I just thought it'd be a great way to get a feel of what uni would be like," she said. "School has a limited amount of subjects you can pick from whereas at TAFE any interest you have you can find a course on it and do it. It's very insightful. You have to work independently and that helps you mature a lot faster."

Cindy completed a work placement at Westmead Hospital's head and neck surgical ward and this affirmed her career choice. "I prefer working to school. Every day is hands-on," she said. "You're always busy, always on your feet. It's really fun. You get to know different people and you're learning about health as well."

Linda chose to study financial services and plans to work as an accountant after a successful work placement at Fairfield Council.

"At TAFE you're treated as an adult and you're more independent," she said. "You have to motivate yourself."

Deputy principal and accredited TAFE teacher Stephen Wark said 45 year 11 students were enrolled in TVET courses, about a third of the grade. He said 90 per cent of the courses were equivalent to two units of HSC study and were a great way to broaden choices.

TAFE SWSI director Peter Roberts said since 2009 they'd had an annual 11 per cent increase in TVET enrolments, including construction, accounting and automotive. "A record-breaking number of local HSC students see the importance of being job-ready before finishing school," he said.

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