There are also options to do workplace learning in Years 11 and 12, which means kids who previously would have left in Year 10 now are able to stay at school while they get practical skills.
Almost all VET courses in schools lead to nationally recognised (Australian Quality Training Framework or AQF) qualifications, either certificates or statements of attainment.
In fact, one in three students in Years 11 and 12 in NSW are currently undertaking a VET course, which can work towards an accredited industry qualification, the HSC and entrance to university.
VET studies are also a great alternative for those who aren't sure what they want to do after school. They can explore a career, get some experience under their belt, and keep all their options open.
Choose subjects based on enjoyment or career?
When helping kids choose subjects in Year 10, Cheryl Russell from the NSW Board of Studies says we should encourage our teens to make choices that emphasise their strengths and interests.
"If you encourage your child to choose subjects they're good at, interested in and can see themselves using in the future, they're more likely to do better in the HSC, and be clearer about their work and study choices when they leave school," Cheryl says.
Sue MacLean, with the Department of Education and Communities, says subject selection in Year 10 can be an exciting opportunity for students to focus their aspirations.
"It's a good idea to start by looking at those subjects your child is most interested and successful in," Sue says. "They should also test their suitability for different careers by gaining work experience in the area, talking to people in the industry and exploring the myfuture website. "
Who can help?
Subject selection can seem a bit complicated. Sue says the Student Pathways Survey / Plan, which students can access through their school portal, can help kids figure out their career preferences and show them how to develop a flexible career plan.
You should also make an appointment to sit down with your teenager and the school careers advisor, to discuss how to make Year 11 and 12 count towards a career pathway.
Subject selection at a glance
Your child will be able to select a mix of subjects from three types of courses: