VET for Secondary Students

Untitled Document

As a Registered Training Organisation (RTO), Charles Darwin University offers a variety of Vocational Education and Training (VET) programs for secondary school students across the Northern Territory.

VET for Secondary Students (VSS) is a chance for students to develop employability skills while receiving their secondary education.

Not only can VET support students in becoming 'work ready', it also allows them to experience a variety of professions while they continue to attend secondary school.

To study a VET course, you must be 15 years of age at the time of enrolment unless:

  • you are at secondary school and CDU has the school principal’s endorsement for you to participate as a 14-year-old
  • you are at school in a remote community and are 14 years of age at the time of enrolment 
  • you are at school in a remote community and CDU has the school principal’s endorsement for you to participate as a 13-year-old. 

CDU has a policy regarding the age of children allowed on campus. Any child under the age of 15 years who is attending a CDU campus or centre must be accompanied by a responsible adult provided by the secondary school or parents/guardians.

VSS Qualifications available at CDU

Please note: Not all VET Courses are available to secondary school students through the VET in Schools program.  All CDU VSS programs on offer are negotiated through secondary schools.  You will need to contact your School VET Coordinator to establish which programs you can enrol in.

When a course or individual units of competency are offered as a VSS program, they are only offered on a part time basis. When undertaking any course as a VSS program, the details of units offered, duration and realistic achievement will be provided at the time that the prospective student completes a DoE Expression of Interest to undertake a VET program form. These are distributed by your School VET Co-ordinator.

VSS programs are offered to Secondary School students as a process of enabling informed career choices to be made and to allow for a head start to that career.

VSS programs should be viewed as a training pathway that will lead to a future career. The achievement of that career is unlikely to be achieved while still at Secondary School.

The VET program delivery is flexible and varies according to client demand. Some courses are available only under an Australian apprenticeship.

School-based Apprenticeships

School Based Apprenticeships (SBA) enables students to gain a nationally accredited qualification while being employed in their selected area of interest. This is achieved simultaneously whilst completing their Northern Territory Certificate of Education and Training (NTCET).

Students usually attend training one day a week and are paid to work for their employer either one or two days per week or in a block. Once they have completed school they can finish their apprenticeship on a full-time basis.

To enquire about School Based Apprenticeships please talk to your School VET Co-ordinator.

VSS funding

Designated VSS funding provides for a range of programs to be delivered in secondary schools.

Details of CDU's VSS specific funding is available at the Department of Education's webpage.

Other programs may be delivered by Charles Darwin University following consultation with the Senior VET Adviser Secondary School Relations and Profile Management.

For further information school teachers are encouraged to contact the relevant Charles Darwin University secondary schools liaison listed below.


VSS contact:
Northern Territory
Lyle Mellors
Senior VET Adviser Secondary School Relations and Profile Management
Phone: 08 8959 5291
(Lyle is located at the Alice Springs campus).

Top End/Darwin secondary teachers/careers advisors can contact:

Trisha Kohlweg
Secondary School Liaison and Learning Pathway Coordinator
T: 08 8946 6387
M: 0437 528 384
(Trisha is located at the CDU Casuarina Campus, in Building Orange 12).

For further information on VSS or SBA, high school students can contact their School's VET or Careers Coordinator. Schools may contact the Senior VET Adviser Secondary School Relations and Profile Management at

Alternately, the following link may also be useful for both families and pupils:
Get VET - The VET Experience