Whether your teen is considering TAFE, university or work, the HEN publication Other Ways to Uni and Careers is full of useful information, advice and personal stories. (available for free to HEN members)
Teenagers are required to be at school or registered for home education until the age of 17. Home educated students who are aged 17 or over can apply to TAFE directly so long as they meet the prerequisites for the course.
All students are required to complete a Language Literacy and Numeracy test, which for certificate courses requires approximately year 9-10 English and maths. Some certificate and diploma courses have prerequisites, so it pays to research course options in advance. Look at the courses of interest and then establish which have the best pathway options. Will the student need to provide a portfolio or meet age or previous study requirements? If so, how can this best be achieved?
The situation for students under 17 is more complicated in Victoria. If the course is full time, they will be required to provide a Exemption from School Attendance form (form will download when you click the link) during the enrolment process. This form has to be signed by the local Regional Director of Education and is effectively giving permission for the student to ‘leave school’ early. See DET’s exemption process information here.
For instructions on how to complete the form, phone your Department regional office and ask to speak to someone about a transition from school enquiry. You can find your nearest regional office here: https://www.education.vic.gov.au/about/contact/Pages/regions.aspx
Once put through, explain you have a student registered for home education who wishes to transfer to a TAFE course, that you are completing a Transition from School Form and need specific instructions on how to fill it in and submit it to the Regional Director.
The course needs to be considered full-time for the transition to be approved. DET (Department of Education and Training) defines full-time as 25 hours per week. This process is messy and can be slow. HEN is working very hard on having it changed, but in the meantime, if you encounter difficulties please contact us for support at email@example.com
Unlike enrolled school students who are able to complete a part time certificate course through VET in Schools, home educated students under the age of 17 are not able to access funding for part time courses. This is a result of the Skills First funding which is designed to prevent ‘double dipping’ – a student being subsidised at TAFE and school at the same time.
Home educated students are excluded from both types of funding,: they cannot ‘single dip’, let alone ‘double dip’. Many students choose to undertake TAFE courses as a component of their home education, so the impact of the Skills First regulations is significant. HEN is working on having this arbitrary discrimination changed.
In New South Wales
Have the Smart and Skilled TAFE available. Information for home schooled students in NSW can be found here.
Registered home educated students are not required to have a year 10 certificate, nor do they need to go through an under 17’s counsellor, for admission to Smart and Skilled. Students may be asked for proof of registration for home education. The fees that students pay can vary widely depending on a variety of circumstances. TAFE has a fee calculator on their website that you can use to help determine what the fees will likely be.
In South Australia
Future Pathways Options. When a young person approaches senior secondary years, there are several pathway options available to support their transition to higher education, vocational education and training, and employment. Home-educated students may choose to begin the SACE or access other vocational pathway programs through their enrolled school or the Open Access College. In these situations, a home education exemption is no longer required. Read more about it on page 17 of the Guide to Home Education in SA
Registered home-educated students in Queensland are able to access government subsidised TAFE courses. Vocational Education & Training (VET) in Schools (VETiS) and School-based Apprenticeships and Traineeships (SATs) are subsidised training opportunities under the Queensland Government VET investment framework. These are available to students in secondary education, including students who are registered as home educated with the Home Education Unit (HEU) of the Queensland Department of Education.
VETiS courses include Certificate I, and II courses, which are accessed through a variety of Registered Training Organisations (RTO’s). SATs require that a student has an employer and include Certificate II and III courses. Information about courses which are accessible to students can be found at QLD TAFE at School. Students can check their eligibility for study at the following link Queensland Skills Gateway (note when answering the question on whether the student is still at school, Qld home-educated students are considered to be ‘in school’, and should answer “yes”)
There are a range of other ways to access VET courses but subsidies are only available to students who are no longer at school. This means that to access this funding, registered home-educated students would need to relinquish their registration, which they can do once they are 15 if the course is full-time (once the course is finished, students can reregister if needed). Information about this and other subsidies can be found at TAFE QLD – Subsidised Training.