IN MANY parts of the world, higher education through universities is the only option for post-school education. However, in Australia, we have the option of vocational education.

This kind of education focuses on making students job-ready by providing skills and knowledge to perform various job functions. In Australia, vocational education and training are provided through registered training organisations such as TAFE, private training organisations or industry associations. They are regulated by the Australian Skills Quality Authority to ensure quality education is delivered. Vocational qualifications or statements of attainment issued by an RTO are valid across Australia.


The Australian Qualifications Framework recognises 10 levels of post-school education:

  • AQF Level 1 – Certificate I
  • AQF Level 2 – Certificate II
  • AQF Level 3 – Certificate III
  • AQF Level 4 – Certificate IV
  • AQF Level 5 – Diploma
  • AQF Level 6 – Advanced Diploma, Associate Degree
  • AQF Level 7 – Bachelor Degree
  • AQF Level 8 – Bachelor Honours Degree, Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma
  • AQF Level 9 – Masters Degree
  • AQF Level 10 – Doctoral Degree.

The current TLI Transport and Logistics Training Package, outlined by the national register of vocational education and training, includes one Certificate I qualification, 11 Certificate II qualifications, 16 Certificate III, 13 Certificate IV, six diplomas and two advanced diploma qualifications.

Some certificate-level courses can be done as part of secondary schooling. Others provide opportunities for traineeships or apprenticeships and to simplify entry into the industry. The government may provide financial benefits to the students and the organisations, which makes it easier for companies to hire them.


Diplomas and advanced diplomas come at the higher end of the spectrum of vocational qualifications and give strong competition to the bachelor’s degree courses. The primary advantage of diploma courses is that many of them are specifically designed to meet the needs of industry. So, employers often prefer diploma graduates who have the skills and knowledge to do the job, instead of training someone who has a bachelor’s degree with a research focus.

Some vocational qualifications are used by government bodies for licensing purposes. For example, one of IFCBAA’s qualifications, TLI50822 – Diploma of Customs Broking, is the approved course by the Australian Border Force for those who want to become licensed customs brokers. Our other qualification, TLI50119 – Diploma of International Freight Forwarding, is approved by the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Association (FIATA) to obtain FIATA’s diploma which has global recognition.

Another advantage is the duration of the courses. It is possible to complete most diplomas in one to two years, while the bachelor’s degrees usually take three or more years to complete. Along with the shorter duration, the diploma courses are also cheaper, so students can start their careers early, without raking up a significant amount of HECS debt.

Additionally, it is easy to secure entry for a diploma qualification. Many universities require you to have specific ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank) scores to get admission. However, diploma courses are usually not reliant on these scores.

While there are benefits in having a higher education in advanced medical, scientific and technical areas, when it comes to meeting most of the skill shortages in the industry and making the students job-ready faster, vocational education is the answer.

This article appeared in the June 2024 edition of DCN Magazine