A question we are often asked is “what course should I / my child /my spouse do”? and the answer isn’t always as simple as the old adages “do what makes you happy” or “follow your passion”. For a start, you need to consider the reasons why you are considering any training. Obviously, if you are after looking for a course to fill an interest, then your decision is relatively simple – nominate a course within your financial and educational constraints and run with it. However, if like the majority of adults undertaking education you are doing so to further your career, you need to consider a number of factors including “which training is likely to lead to a better / higher paying / local / sustainable job?” You may also have to ask yourself additional questions such as “will there be any other training I need to do?” …. “will the training lead me straight to the job I want or will I still have steps to climb? … does the training have to be completed face to face or can I do it by correspondence? ….. does the cost of the training outweigh the benefit that I will have? …. The list goes on!
McCrindle Research recently listed the current top five ‘overrated’ university courses, using employment rates and entry level wages as their comparison points. This is a good starting point to consider before undertaking any tertiary education. Simplistically, these statistics paint a national picture of actual employment needs v’s consumption of training, and help to highlight the reality that despite undertaking popular and recognised training pathways, there is a very high level of competition for jobs at the end of it. Put simply: merely completing tertiary study will not guarantee you an entry to the field of your training.
Now while the statistics provided by McCrindle point to national trends, it is worthwhile doing some local labour market research yourself, as the needs in your immediate area may or may not reflect these national trends. Get on the phone to some local employees and have a discussion about needs specifically in the area. Ask them what, if any, additional experience or training is required in the ‘real world’ to increase chances. Consider the other possible areas that the area of training you are considering may be useful in – this will provide you with a more accurate picture of how the training may be more viable across a broader context. And if you’ve already commenced study in one of these ‘overrated’ courses – don’t panic. Instead, adapt your training and outlook in accordance with the real world feedback you have received from employers.
Real world feedback can and should be sought to research all of the questions that you have before embarking on study that is aimed at increasing your employability or work status. Many large employers have HR departments who receive telephone calls or emails everyday from people considering entering work in their field and are used to providing general advice. Most training providers are able to provide guidance also, although it is worth remembering that it is often in their best interest to entice you to complete training through their company so getting a combination of both employer and training provider advice. Reviewing real world job advertisements should also be another vital element of your investigation – a quick look at seek for your region should quickly provide an idea of the jobs that are available, and therefore help to guide your decision making.