Light at the end of the ATAR

There is more to life than the ATAR.

That’s the message HVTC CEO Sharon Smith wants to get across to the Year 12 students across NSW eagerly awaiting the release of ATAR scores on Friday.

Smith said it was important to remind students and their parents that the ATAR is just a number and that university isn’t the only pathway to a successful career.

“Some students will get great marks, which is fantastic. Others may not get the marks they hoped for. I want them to know that’s okay,” she said.

“I know it can be disheartening to not get the results you wanted, particularly when you’ve put in so much effort. But it is important to remember that if you have your heart set on a particular career, there are so many different avenues that can get you there.”

Smith said more people should be made aware of the benefits of completing an apprenticeship or traineeship.

“Many students finish high school thinking university is their only option. That’s usually because it’s what they’re told by their parents and teachers. The public tends to have tunnel vision when it comes to life after school and unfortunately there is such a strong push for university that vocational education and training (VET) is overlooked.

“What might surprise people is that VET grads have a better chance of gaining employment after completing their qualification compared to their university counterparts, with 82% of apprentice or trainee grads securing full-time employment within 6 months. This is compared to just 69% of bachelor degree graduates.

“VET grads are also better off financially. The median full-time income for a VET graduate is $56,000, while the median salary for a bachelor degree graduate is $54,000. Entry level electricians can earn as much as $91,000. Not to mention, apprentices and trainees get paid to learn, instead of racking up thousands of dollars in study debt.

“I’m not discounting the value of university, but it’s time we stopped thinking of apprenticeships and traineeships as a second best option. Not everyone wants to go to university – some people are more hands-on and prefer to learn on-the-job – that’s why apprenticeships and traineeships are important.”

Apprenticeships are typically four years in duration and are available in a range of industries, including Building and Construction, Horticulture, Hospitality, Automotive, Engineering, and Manufacturing. Traineeships usually take 1-2 years to complete and are available in areas such as Business, Retail, Community Health, Child Care, and Financial Services.

Group Training Organisations, such as HVTC, play an important role in the VET sector, helping match job seekers to potential employers.

Apprentice Employment Network NSW & ACT (AEN NSW & ACT) Executive Officer Jason Sultana said there are scores of apprenticeship and traineeships going begging in New South Wales.

“Group training organisations are on the lookout for young people leaving school who want to learn new skills and commence a rewarding career,” he said.

“There are such great opportunities on offer for someone wanting to start a vocational career in the skilled trades, hospitality, health care, among others, and there are a lot of positions on offer.”

“It is a great time to maximise the fee-free apprenticeships currently on offer in New South Wales.”

HVTC is an expert in the employment and training of apprentices and trainees across NSW. Visit to view our current vacancies.

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