The Northern Melbourne VET Cluster started in 2006 with a handful of schools and a few hundred students accessing VET programs at Host schools. We have steadily grown to our present size with 48 schools, both Government and Non Government, 15 of them Host schools, offering over 40 VET courses. In 2018 we have over a thousand VET students enrolled in our NMVC Host schools as external students. Over the past years, we have maintained and grown our VET student numbers in this Cluster but more importantly, our VET Course completion rates are trending upwards.  Cluster schools, have collectively maintained their commitment to providing a broad range of high quality vocational pathways to students. Through the Cluster, students have access, not just to the VET subjects each school may offer, but to the full range provided by Cluster schools.

The Northern Melbourne VET Cluster plays a vital role in creating opportunities for students to explore vocational pathways. Student access to the large range of VET courses on offer is only possible through the efficient functioning of the VET Cluster, its processes and the excellent communication between its member schools. Within the group of NMVC VET Coordinators and their Principals, we have a strong commitment to the Cluster, working together to enhance student outcomes and continually seeking to improve our processes.

Through the Cluster, VET Coordinators receive the support they need to carry out their important roles effectively. The Cluster is an entity which runs entirely on the goodwill and cooperation between its members.  VET Coordinators in both Home and Host schools, collaborate closely and support each other in their shared commitment to their VET students. The Cluster protocols and processes, the timelines and the portal- provide a structure for the work involved in supporting these students

Participation in a VET subject can be literally life changing for some students, leading them into their chosen career pathways. For most VET students, the best place to access a VET subject, if not possible at their own school, is at another school within the NMVC.

How does participation in a VET course expand opportunities and improve student education and transition outcomes? There is ample research to conclude that participation in a VET subject prepares them for life after school and enhances their employment and educational opportunities. Structured Workplace Learning, enables students to develop workplace skills and knowledge in an Industry setting.  After completion of an accredited VET program, students can directly enter employment or receive credit towards further study. Students who satisfactorily complete a VCE/VET or VFE course can be advantaged in the calculation of their ATAR scores. We have many high achieving ex Year 12 VET students from the Cluster who can attribute their excellent ATAR scores directly to their participation in a VET course.

Our feedback from our VET students continues to be excellent, with a sincere appreciation for the skills and vocational training delivered in their VET courses at our Cluster Host schools. For many, their VET classes are the best part of their school week. They value the opportunity to be exposed to a ‘range of different technologies’, and delight in being able to ’demonstrate specific skills and competencies’ – not always possible in a traditional school setting. Most importantly, many VET students, ‘gain confidence and improved communication and interpersonal skills’, knowing that their successful participation in a VET course will be awarded with a ‘nationally recognised VET certificate which will assist their transition from school to work or further study’. NMVC VET students highly value the Cluster for broadening their career pathway options. For some it gives them the opportunity to trial a career and for others it helps to explore possible areas of interest.

We encourage students to consider VET courses in skill shortage areas. Research has shown that those who undertake trade related fields of study are more likely to be in full time employment five years after studying at school.

The Northern Melbourne VET Cluster is a professional, vibrant and progressive entity. School membership of our Cluster is an excellent way to improve student outcomes, cater to their individual differences, providing them with the option of an alternative career pathway and a means of aiding their transition to further study and work.