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VET Courses and Students with Special Education Needs


Vocational education and training (VET) courses allow students to gain industry-recognised national vocational qualifications under the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) as part of their schooling.

VET courses (Industry Curriculum Frameworks or VET Board Endorsed Courses) are based on qualifications and units of competency contained in nationally endorsed Training Packages or accredited courses.

VET courses can be taken by any students including those with special education needs.

Successful participation in VET courses for students with special education needs requires:

  • collaborative curriculum planning
  • appropriate learning and assessment strategies
  • consultation on whether the student needs support to undertake work placement
  • ongoing partnerships between schools and colleges, students, parents, teachers, employers and others in the community.

VET courses can be studied in Stage 5 or Stage 6.

Studying VET courses

The collaborative curriculum planning process will determine the most appropriate course options for students with special education needs.

Students with special education needs can study:

  • any VET course under regular course arrangements
  • units of competency selected from a VET course as detailed in the syllabus or course description. Through the selection of appropriate units of competency, a student can work towards an AQF VET Certificate as well as prepare for employment. Core or mandatory units of competency should be prioritised when selecting units. Units of competency are listed in VET syllabuses or course descriptions.

Note: There are no Stage 6 Life Skills VET courses.

Work placement

Mandatory work placement requirements must be completed by all students, including students with special education needs.

This should be taken into consideration before choosing a VET course.

Collaborative curriculum planning

Decisions about curriculum options that will lead to the Record of School Achievement (RoSA) or Higher School Certificate (HSC) should be made through a collaborative curriculum planning process.

This process includes any person who is important in helping the student to make decisions about their pattern of study. During the collaborative curriculum planning process, the following points should be considered:

  • selection of an appropriate industry area
  • student interest in, and knowledge of, the proposed industry area
  • suitability of the course
  • selection of appropriate units of competency
  • adjustments and/or support required for the student to access course work and demonstrate competency
  • mandatory work placement requirements.

Once the decision has been made for a student to undertake a VET course, the following should be considered:

  • entry-level skills and jobs within the vocational area for which the student could train
  • short-term outcomes that the student could achieve
  • post-school opportunities including further training
  • availability and type of employment in the student's geographical area.


Assessment in VET courses is competency-based. All students undertaking VET courses, including students with special education needs, are subject to the same assessment requirements.

Reasonable adjustments

To develop skills and knowledge to industry standard, students with special education needs may need reasonable adjustments to develop competency both off-the-job and in the workplace.

  • An adjustment is a measure or action taken to assist a student with a disability to participate in education and training on the same basis as other students.
  • An adjustment is reasonable if it achieves this purpose while taking into account the student’s learning needs and balancing the interests of all parties affected, including those of the student with the disability, the education provider, staff and other students.
  • In making a reasonable adjustment, the provider should ensure that the integrity of the course or program and assessment requirements and processes are maintained.1

Where adjustments to delivery and assessment are made, the industry competency standards need to be met. These standards can be found in the relevant Training Package or accredited course.

Adjustments should be based on an individual student's needs and abilities.

Credentials and future pathways

AQF VET qualifications

Eligibility for AQF VET qualifications is the same for all students. To receive these qualifications, students with special education needs must meet the assessment requirements of the Training Package or accredited course that the qualification comes from. A qualified assessor must conduct the assessment.

Students who meet the requirements of a VET qualification will receive the relevant Certificate and an accompanying Transcript of Competencies Achieved.

Students who achieve partial completion of a VET qualification (one or more units of competency) will be eligible for a Statement of Attainment, which lists all units of competency achieved towards the qualification.

Students' partial completion of a unit of competency, showing the elements of competency achieved, can be recorded in a competency record. While this is not a formal credential it can be used to show the elements of competency that have been successfully demonstrated.

Record of School Achievement (RoSA) or Higher School Certificate (HSC)

Satisfactory completion of a VET course will be listed on the RoSA or HSC Record of Achievement. The Record of Achievement will refer to separate vocational documentation (Certificate or Statement of Attainment).

Further articulation

Stage 5 and Stage 6 VET courses are entry-level courses that may articulate into other AQF VET qualifications. Students can undertake further training post-school to achieve a VET qualification that has been partially completed while at school, or to start another VET qualification.

Further information

Further advice on the implementation of VET courses for students with special education needs can be found in the Stage 6 Industry Curriculum Frameworks Support Document for Students with Special Education Needs (2005).

1 Disability Standards for Education 2005: Guidance Notes https://docs.education.gov.au/node/16352

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