The Models

The pilots have tested three broad tertiary pathway models.

1. Higher Apprenticeships and Traineeships

This model extends traditional apprenticeships or traineeships to higher level qualifications up to a university degree. This responds to the demand for higher level and professional qualifications in traditional trade areas.


The construction management higher apprenticeship pilot creates a seamless pathway from apprenticeship to university with defined exit points. Students concurrently undertake an apprenticeship in carpentry and a Diploma in Project Management before articulating into the second year of a university qualification. They graduate from a bachelor degree in construction management with the practical skills they need to manage a job site.

Higher apprenticeship model

2. Degree Apprenticeships and Traineeships

This embeds a VET qualification and an apprenticeship within a bachelor degree. The model responds to demand from employers for job-ready degree graduates with practical skills and experience. It also provides intensive work integrated learning.


The electrical engineering degree apprenticeship pilot combines an electrical engineering degree with an apprenticeship in electrotechnology and the industry experience required to obtain an electrician’s licence. Students graduate with a trade qualification and a bachelor degree, allowing them to design and wire their own electrical work from day one.

Degree apprenticeship model

3. Integrated Tertiary Pathways

This model creates a seamless transition for students by co-designing new qualifications that integrate higher education and VET content for the first time. These models often make use of advanced diplomas and associate degrees as a stepping stone to higher level study. They address the difficulty students can face when transitioning from VET to higher education in areas of rapid skills growth.


An example is the aged care tertiary pathway, which allows VET qualified aged care workers to upgrade their qualifications to a new Associate Degree in Integrated Care in Ageing. The associate degree bridges the gap between the qualifications at certificate III - IV level and a bachelor degree by integrating both VET and academic teaching styles and embedding student support. The pathway prepares students for higher level study through foundational academic literacy units tailored to aged care.

Tertiary pathway model

Man in hard hat

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