News & Blog

By THINK Education 29th December 2014

What You Need to Know About Further Education

Australia has placed a great deal of value and importance in tertiary education ever since the late Gough Whitlam abolished university fees in 1974. Since then, the tertiary education sector has grown dramatically.


While only two Australian universities rank in the top 50 worldwide, we enjoy very high standards of further education and this attracts many students from overseas, mainly from Asia. This has resulted in education becoming Australia’s fourth largest export, just behind iron ore, coal and gold (that’s right, GOLD). Education also boosts the Australian economy through tourism, real estate, retail and entertainment from the influx of young students and their families spending extended periods in Australia.

Given all this growth and demand, a new class of further education institutions has slowly emerged as a preferred option for both students and employers. Private colleges that provide university-equivalent education, often with a greater focus toward a specific industry and getting a job soon after graduation.

So what are the real differences between the traditional university system and this new breed of educational institutions, and which is best for you?


Let’s talk about the money first. Study Assist’s FEE-HELP and its vocational twin VET FEE-HELP have recently been expanded to include many private colleges like Think Education’s eight colleges, so more students can get the education they prefer without financial burden or upfront fees. This creates more options for all students.

Van Wilder



You want to learn something you love and then work in that industry; if you like clothes then study fashion, if you like colours and shapes, study design, etc. So if your tertiary education provider can’t get you a job after graduation, maybe consider the attending a private college that focuses on your interests. Some even offer internships and work experience as part of the coursework.



Campuses and Facilities

Older public universities often have better facilities because they had (incredible) real estate gifted to them by the government, have enjoyed government funding for decades and consistently upgraded their facilities, so it’s no wonder their campuses are incredible. Private colleges have competed by investing in conveniently located cutting-edge campuses that are more like a modern workplace and less like the set of A Beautiful Mind.

A Beautiful Mind



This is based on what you study. Somehow Plato is still a popular topic at university, but I’ve never heard of anyone quoting The Republic and getting a job out of it, especially if they studied Nutritional Medicine - you’d think legitimate work experience in a health clinic would be more valuable, right?



Entry Requirements and Pathways 

You need a specific ATAR or OP to get into a university course, and many young Australians are disappointed by their result and instead opt to enrol at a lesser or less convenient university, or just head straight into the workforce. The clear alternative here is studying at a private college. Many private colleges either require lower ATAR scores than universities, or have pathways to a degree built into their course structure. Did you do well in Year 12 but it doesn’t show in your final exam results? You can do a one-year diploma and then move into the final two years of a degree at the same private college without missing a beat. It’s called ‘Study Pathways’.




Some Australian educational institutions enjoy strong reputations both domestically and internationally. But in today’s job market, so much importance is placed on previous experience and measurable results that it’s likely your whole résumé, including any experience and your education, that will get your foot in the door.




Consider all the possible options when planning your next step after Year 12; do your research, ask your teachers, visit campuses, call different schools. Maybe traditional university is for you, or maybe you can get the same quality education at a private college and graduate ready for the workforce.

Think Education offers university-equivalent degrees and diplomas across Design, Fashion, Digital Media, Photography, Business, Event Management, Marketing, Hospitality Management, Commercial Cookery, Natural Health, Counselling and Psychotherapy, Community Services and a whole lot more. Get in touch with a Course and Careers Advisor and see where a Think Education qualification could take you!




Think Education encompasses eight different colleges in NSW, QLD and VIC across four faculties; Business, Health, Hospitality and Design. The colleges which Think Education proudly represents are:

Billy Blue College of Design | CATC Design School | APM College of Business and Communication | William Blue College of Hospitality Management | Australasian College of Natural Therapies | Southern School of Natural Therapies | Jansen Newman Institute | Australian National College of Beauty