Many of us have dreamed of exploring the Great Barrier Reef, walking across the Sydney Harbour Bridge, soaking up the culture in Melbourne or hanging out on Bondi Beach, but not everyone is aware of the incredible benefits Australia has to offer in terms of vocational education. Boasting the third-largest international student population in the world, it seems that more and more overseas students are finding themselves drawn to the country – and to Victoria in particular – but just why is it proving so popular?

An excellent reputation for education

According to The Times’ Higher Education World University Rankings 2014-15, Australia is home to five of the top-100 universities in the world. Its higher education system appears in the top ten of the 2015 Universitas 21 annual rankings. Vocational qualifications obtained in Australia are recognised by employers across the globe, so international students who study down under find that the world really is their oyster when they qualify.

Vocational studies in Victoria

Victoria is an excellent place for international students to pursue vocational education and training (VET). The region is home to more than 500 registered training organisations (RTOs), where students can learn practical skills within a positive and nurturing environment. With such a broad range of courses on offer, students can choose where to study and for how long as they move towards their dream jobs.

Exceptional career prospects

The VET courses available in Victoria offer pathways to a broad range of career options from healthcare to forestry, recreation to retail, transport to education. RTOs in Victoria have kick-started the careers of exceptional chefs, agricultural experts, plumbers, social workers and thousands of other vocational leaders. World-famous chef Guy Grossi undertook a Certificate III in Hospitality at Box Hill Institute in Melbourne. He now provides part-time employment for a number of apprentices while they study for their catering qualifications.

Awards for Victoria-based students

Students in Victoria may be eligible for various awards, including the Victorian Training Awards, which are designed to reward outstanding achievement and innovation in vocational education and training. Award winners each receive a $10,000 fellowship and the opportunity to represent Victoria at the Australian Training Awards in Adelaide. Individual categories include the Victorian Vocational Student of the Year Award, Victorian Apprentice of the Year Award and Victorian Trainee of the Year Award.

Student life in Victoria

Victoria is an excellent place to study, with plenty for students to see and do during their spare time. Melbourne is one of Australia’s most popular tourist centres, with countless attractions and events to enjoy. Queen Victoria Market is an excellent venue for shopping, while the Royal Botanic Gardens provide a stunning place to relax and feel close to nature, and Federation Square offers the hustle and bustle of vibrant city life. Both the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel and the Eureka Skydeck 88 are stunning places to take in views of the city. Within easy reach of Melbourne, students can play with kangaroos at Healesville Sanctuary, have a go at striking it rich at Sovereign Hill and admire the fabulous 12 Apostles rock stacks. Melbourne offers excellent transport links to Australia’s countless hot spots and backwaters, as well as to a huge number of international destinations.

The cost of studying in Victoria

As vocational education and training courses tend to be shorter than academic courses, they are surprisingly affordable for international students. While the cost of living in Melbourne is considerably lower than Sydney, it is cheaper to live in the outskirts of the city or in more remote areas of Victoria. With excellent transport links and plenty of budget places to shop and eat, students in the region can enjoy an exceptional standard of living at a very reasonable price.

Read on for more information on some of the leading institutions offering vocational education and training in Victoria:

Melbourne Polytechnic is one of the largest and most successful providers of both vocational training and higher education programs in Australia. With a rich history dating back more than 100 years, Melbourne Polytechnic is a well-established, Government accredited institution and a vibrant & dynamic destination for international students. Melbourne Polytechnic provides quality education and a friendly & safe learning environment to more than 50,000 students, including 700 international students from 70 countries globally. Melbourne Polytechnic offers a large range of career-focused programs at Certificate, Diploma and Degree level across the arts, social and related behavioural sciences, engineering, education, natural science and technology. Read the full profile…

Education, Training & Employment Australia (ETEA) was established in 1998 as a private college, providing training support services to the Health, Allied Health and Community Services industries. Training is delivered through a range of high quality programs from Certificate III to Advanced Diploma level, across the disciplines of Nursing, Allied Health, Business & Admin, Automotive, and Community Services. ETEA is able to provide training in a wide range of areas for students looking to start a new career, to further their skills and qualifications in their current field, or to work in Australia. Students are taught by experienced teachers and are given the skills and knowledge needed to become work ready, highly qualified professionals. Read the full profile…

Box Hill Institute is a leading Victorian vocational and higher education provider known for its collaborative and creative approach to education in Australia and overseas. Box Hill Institute offers a wide variety of certificate courses, short courses, diplomas and degrees, across a range of subjects such as engineering & manufacturing, health & community, hospitality, construction, business, etc. The Institute’s industry partnerships give students access to internationally recognised training and practical experience with current technology and processes, meaning that students can graduate ready for work. Box Hill’s program design and delivery equips students with the skills, knowledge and attitudes to apply their learning to new situations, to solve problems, to work creatively and cooperatively and to sustain lifelong learning.

William Angliss Institute is a Government endorsed specialist training provider for the foods, tourism, hospitality and events industries, delivering a range of courses within Australia and internationally. With around 18,000 students enrolling each year, the institute offers a broad range of training and education programs including accredited traineeships and apprenticeships, certificates, diplomas and advanced diplomas, short courses, graduate certificates and degrees. The main campus lies in the heart of Melbourne and hosts a range of excellent facilities for vocational training including food technology labs, an on-site spa training facility, fully equipped demonstration kitchens, hotel business centre, etc.

Chisholm Institute is a Technical and Further Education (TAFE) Institute located in south-east Melbourne. The institute provides adult education in a number of areas including the arts, hospitality, information technology, trades and business. Chisholm offers over 330 certificate, diploma, advanced diploma and graduate certificate courses to a diverse community of students. Students can study at one of the many campuses across Dandenong, Berwick, Frankston, Wonthaggi, Cranbourne, and Mornington Peninsula. As one of the largest providers of vocational education and training in Victoria, Chisholm has emerged as one of the premier VET and tertiary providers in the region.