External VET - General Information



What is VET?

V = Vocational     E = Education     and     T = Training

VET opportunities allow students to learn workplace specific skills and knowledge in either a simulated or real-life workplace. Students enrol with a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) to complete a nationally recognised qualification.​​

As a student at BrisbaneSDE, there are INTERNAL VET opportunities - these are mentioned in your Year Level Subject Guide, and you include these in your subject selection on enrolment. These qualifications are delivered by BrisbaneSDE staff and are timetabled in the same way as your school subjects. 

The informa​tion in this document is devoted to students who would like to engage with EXTERNAL VET opportunities. These qualifications are delivered by RT​Os who are EXTERNAL to BrisbaneSDE, and you will enrol with these RTOs separately from your BrisbaneSDE enrolment.​​

Select the links or scroll down to find out about External VET at BrisbaneSDE

At BrisbaneSDE you can engage with External VET opportunities in two different ways

  1. ​​​You can enrol with an RTO - like TAFE at School - to study a Nationally Recognised (stand-alone) Qualification OR
  2. You can sign up to a School Based Apprenticeship or Traineeship where you will work towards completing a Nationally Recognised Qualification by attending the workplace and completing​ theory with an RTO.​​
BrisbaneSDE has students attending the many, varied courses on offer through TAFE at School. You'll find a link to their Course Guides below. We also have students attend lessons with other RTOs if TAFE at School does not have a suitable option. Please contact the External VET Coordinator for assistance.

The qualifications can be delivered as face to face (students must attend the RTO's campus one day a week), online, or by 'mixed mode/blended delivery' where training is a combination of face to face and online delivery.

Studying an External VET qualification through an External RTO may incur a cost to the student.  You will need to contact the RTO directly for their most current fees and vacancies.​

Some qualifications are covered by VETiS (VET in School) funding - mostly Certificate II level qualifications.  Students can only use their VETiS funding for ONE qualification. You can read more about funding here: Subsidised training and incentives.

Most RTOs begin delivering their qualifications in Term 1 of a school year.  Enrolments usually begin from July of the previous year. However, there are some RTO's who have mid-year intakes, term intakes or rolling intakes which means students can start at any time.

Note: Interstate and International students have limitations on what External VET options are available to them. Please contact for more information.

There is a Code of Conduct that is expected of students when studying an External VET qualification.  Please ensure your students read the details in the Code of Conduct document, which is located in the External VET Programs QLearn course.​​

If you are investigating courses with RTOs other than TAFE at School, please ask the following questions when contacting them and note the following details to see if the course suits you:

  1. Course Delivery - where and how is this course delivered? Can you attend their campus one day a week?
  2. Cost - is there a cost associated with the qualification? ALWAYS contact the RTO for current fees as they do change.
  3. Duration - how long does the qualification take to complete? Will you be able to complete it whilst at school?
  4. Work Placement - are there any work placement requirements? Will you be able to complete these?
  5. Age requirements - some RTOs do not allow Year 10 students to enrol into their courses.​

Before enrolling

  • Contact the External VET Coordinator so they can approve the enrolment
  • You will need a USI number (Unique Student Identifier). If you do not have one, please create one here – USI - you will need your Birth Certificate or Medicare Care.  Ensure you use your legal name as your application for USI is matched against other databased such as Centrelink, QLD Government, ATO.
  • You will need a LUI number (Learning Unique Identifier). The school can provide this to you, or you may be able to see it when you log into One School. Contact the External VET Coordinator if you cannot locate it.

After enrolling

  • Once your application has been approved, notify the External VET Coordinator. 
  • If you must attend lessons during school hours, notify the External VET Coordinator the days and times so we can organise an 'Attendance Plan' - this means you will not be marked absent on the days/times you attend your lessons, however, there is an expectation that you watch lesson recordings of missed classes.
  • After you have attended at least 2 classes for your External VET, notify the External VET Coordinator to let them know that you are confident you will
  • continue OR if you would like to cancel your enrolment. If you are confident you will continue, we will communicate with the Year Level Dean to discuss dropping an Elective Subject.
  • If at some stage, you choose to cancel your enrolment in External VET - you need to notify the External VET Coordinator immediately.
  • Below you will find common industry areas students at our school study through External VET. ​

Please note: The External VET Coordinator will be able to provide guidance and suggestions for qualifications to study within in these industry areas, however, it is the responsibility of the student/family to contact the RTO to confirm current information regarding costs, age requirements, duration etc.

TAFE at School​

TAFE at SCHOOL is by far the m​ost popular RTO that BrisbaneSDE students enrol with. They offer a vast range of qualifications including most of those listed below as well as many others. TAFE at School programs are designed to fit in with school terms and are targeted at school aged students. Trainers are aware they are working with school students, and they communicate with BrisbaneSDE frequently regarding attendance and progress. We often receive very positive feedback from students about their TAFE study. They make new friends and really enjoy their one day a week on campus. Please use the following link to view their course offerings. Be sure to filter for your region.​​

​​Agriculture & Rural Operations
Animal Studi​es
Community Services
Hair and Beauty

Information Technology
Justice Studies
Screen and Media
Sport and Fitness

Trade Tasters

Trade Taster Programs are for Year 10 students who have not yet enrolled into an External VET qualification. Students attend TAFE one day a week for 8/9 weeks to get hands-on experience in a particular Industry area. 

Trade Taster Information 

​Online Course Options

These options are suitable for students who live interstate, those who live remotely and cannot access an RTO's campus or for students who prefer to study fully online. Interstate students note you will not be able to access VETiS funding.

General FAQs​​​

How can a ​VET qualification contribute to my ATAR or as a pathway to university?

Please read the fact sheet from QTAC here: VET-ATAR-Factsheet-Aug21.pdf.

Can I study ​more than one external qualification?

If you want to enrol into more than one External VET qualification, you will need approval from the Year Level Dean of Students. The Dean will consider your engagement and return of work in your first qualification, before giving permission to enrol into the second.

Can I study online?

If the RTO you choose to study with, offer an online delivery option and that is your preference, then yes you can. You may be required to attend an online lesson and tutorial each week. You must commit to your studies and follow the assessment guidelines set by the RTO.

Do I get a day off school?
Technically, no, as you will still be attending a Training Organisation. If you need to attend the RTO's campus for training, you are provided with an Attendance Plan so you can attend training or work placement. You must watch the lesson recordings for the classes you miss.

When do I have to enrol?

RTOs have different dates when they offer courses. TAFE Qld will open for expressions of interest in July for enrolment into the following year; however, if you don't think about enrolling until January, then there may still be places left.  Students can enrol into some qualifications with some RTOs throughout the year.

How do I apply to remove a subject?

Once you have attended at least two lessons for your External VET and you are confident you will continue, please email We will then communicate with the Year Level Dean to discuss the option of removing a subject. (Year 10 students can only remove an elective subject).​

How much does it cost to enrol into a qualification?

Most Certificate II courses are VETiS funded while you are at school, so there is no cost. Note that you are only entitled to enrol into one VETiS Certificate II qualification while at school. If you want to study a second qualification, you will have to pay. Certificate III qualifications are fee-for-service (except for the Certificate III in Aviation – Remote Pilot – which is VETiS funded). Costs can vary from around $700 - $15,000 depending upon the qualification. Most are around $3000.

What are the most popular courses our students enrol into?

  • Certificate II in Health Support Services
  • Certificate II in Animal Studies
  • Certificate II in Rural Operations
  • Certificate II in Sport & Recreation
  • Certificate III in Business
  • Certificate III in Fitness
  • Certificate III in Aviation (Remote Pilot)
  • Certificate IV in Crime and Justice Studies
  • Diploma of Entrepreneurship and Innovation
  • Diploma of Business

What happens if I don't finish the course?

The goal is always to complete your qualification before you finish school, and your RTO will always support you to achieve it. The External VET Coordinator will monitor your progress and keep you on task. If for health reasons or other reasons you can't complete the qualification, you will achieve a Statement of Attainment which lists all the units you achieved.

What courses can I choose from?

Students can go to the VET Opportunities tab in the External VET Programs QLearn Course to look through courses that are available and suitable for BrisbaneSDE students. The TAFE at School Guides are a good place to start. If you can't find a course of interest, please contact the External VET Coordinator. TAFE at School are by far the most popular External RTO our students enrol with. You can read their available courses for various regions here -

How do I know if I am the right fit for a position offered as a school-based apprenticeship or traineeship?

You will usually be required to complete work experience before signing into a SAT. This might only be one day, but it gives you the opportunity to see if you will like to work there and for your employer to see if you will fit in with the existing team and they can meet your requirements.

I don't live in Queensland. Can I study an External VET qualification?

There are limited options available to interstate and international students enrolled with BrisbaneSDE. Please contact the External VET Coordinator for details OR look in the 'VET Opportunities" section of this QLearn course and look under the 'Online Course' options.​

School Based Apprenticeship and Traineeship Opportunities​

School-based apprenticeships and traineeships (SATs) allow high school students, in Years 10, 11 or 12, to work for an employer and train towards a recognized qualification, while completing their secondary schooling and studying for their Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE) or equivalent. Students attend the workplace generally one day a wee​k, they get paid, and they also work with an SRTO (Supervising Registered Training Organization) to complete the theory associated with their qualification. The main difference between a traineeship and an apprenticeship is that a traineeship is offered in a broader range of occupations and is shorter - typically over one or two years. An apprenticeship covers skilled trades and takes a lot longer – usually three to four years, either full or part-time.

You can read information about SATs here: 

​So, you've read all the information and you are keen to apply for a SAT?  Here are some simple steps to follow:

  1. Have a well written RESUME ready to go. 
  2. Consider what Industry Area you are interested in and look for any positions being advertised. (You might know a family member or friend who own a business. You might already be working casually; the employer might be interested in putting you onto a SAT. Some opportunities will be advertised through this QLearn Course. Some organisations advertise regularly - please use their links from the table below.)
  3. Approach an employer, introduce yourself and that you are a student of Brisbane School of Distance Education and you are wondering if their business would consider offering you work experience with the prospect of hiring you as a School Based Trainee or Apprentice. Provide them with a copy of your Resume.
  4. Organise work experience through school. You will need to email Petrece Dyer for the forms that are required  
  5. After work experience is complete, the employer may offer you the opportunity to be hired as a school-based apprentice/trainee. If this is the case, you will need to notify the External VET Coordinator - as they will need to communicate with the employer.
  6. The employer contacts an AASN (Australia Apprenticeship Support Network Providers) - they are contracted by the Federal government to facilitate the registration of school-based training contracts. The AASN will arrange a meeting with the employer, an SRTO (supervising Registered Training Organisation - they will deliver the theory component of your SAT), the family and AASN. 
  7. Once the "Sign-Up" meeting has taken place and you have signed up to a SAT, you will need to communicate with the External VET Coordinator - to let them know what days/times you are working. We will put an 'Attendance Plan' in place - this means you won't be marked 'absent' on the day you attend work, however, there is an expectation that you will watch lesson recordings of any missed classes.
    We will also organise for you to drop an elective and your SAT will become one of your 6 subjects. ​

​There are some organisations that advertise SATs on offer.  Please check their 'Jobs Boards' regularly for updates. You can also email them your Resume and let them know what Industry Areas you are interested in, and they may be able to help you find one. Examples of organisations that offer SATs are published in the QLearn External VET Programs course. Access the organisations' websites for current vacancies.​

​School Based Apprenticeships and Traineeship FAQs

Q.What is the difference between an apprenticeship and traineeship?

A. Usually an apprenticeship is for a trade such as an electrician, plumber, hairdresser, chef, or carpenter. Traineeships cover industries that don't require a trade certificate, which can include business, retail and more.

Q.What's a school-based apprenticeship or traineeship?

A. School-based apprenticeships and traineeships allow you to work as a paid employee and gain yourself a recognised qualification at the same time as you complete Year 10, 11 or 12.

Q.How will it impact on my timetable?

A. Once you sign up to your SAT, this will replace one of your elective subjects. The day you attend the workplace will show up on your timetable. All classes that occur on your timetable for the day you are at work will still go ahead. It is your responsibility to watch the lesson recordings each week for all your missed classes.

Q.Am I eligible?

A. To qualify you must still be at school in years 10, 11 or 12. You will also need to work at least 50 days a year and you will have to do some of the training or work during school hours.

Q.Can my school help me?

A. The student needs to find an employer who is willing to take them on as a School Based Trainee/ Apprentice. Available SATs are sometimes advertised through the External VET QLearn. There are also links directly to webpages of organisations that advertise current SATs on offer that you can check regularly. We strongly recommend organising Work Experience prior to signing up for a SAT to ensure the workplace is a good 'fit' for both student and employer. To organise Work Experience you will need to contact Petrece Dyer, the Work Experience Coordinator – For questions regarding SATs contact the External VET Co Ordinator - Jill Toppenberg -

Q.How much do I get paid?

A. It really depends on your qualification, your employer and you. However, there are some minimum conditions for employers and employees across Australia. Visit or phone 13 13 94.

Q.What happens when I finish school before my apprenticeship or traineeship ends?

A. Once you have completed school, you can continue your apprenticeship or traineeship either full time or part time until you have completed it.

Q.How long does a school-based apprenticeship or traineeship take?

A. Your training is competency based. A traineeship can take between 12 - 24 months, and an apprenticeship between 36-48 months. The length will depend on the qualification chosen and how quickly you achieve the competencies.

Q.What is a training provider?

A. A training provider is a public institute, like TAFE or it can be a private organisation. The training provider will be responsible for developing your training plan, assessing you and awarding your qualification.

Q.Where can I find more information?

A. The Department of Employment Small Business and Training provide information

regarding roles, responsibilities, advantages, disadvantages, policies, and procedures. DESBT - Frequently asked questions.​

You can also find information on these websites:​

Last reviewed 12 July 2023
Last updated 12 July 2023