You have probably chosen the perfect time to go into the vocational education business. History has shown that choosing a sector that has been through massive upheaval and numerous closures can also be full of opportunities.

However you need to be careful that you take the best parts of what is left and optimise them and don’t just take on someone else’s problem. Here’s an analogy for you- make sure if you are going into the music business during massive change that you are the one who starts spotify not manufactures cds!

You have seen massive opportunities, especially in the areas that are government funded (like Cert III Guarantee in Qld, Smart and Skilled in NSW, and many programs in Vic), and in the rapid growth in private higher education and international student numbers [June 2020 edit- maybe not the international student part just now 🙁 ].


Here are the challenges you need to manage when recruiting students:

  • the rules- ASQA has strict rules about what you can and can’t say in your marketing and they have been known to change their policies on occasion
  • the rules part 2- different states have different rules about what you can say when you market courses they fund
  • the rules part 3- Section 49 of the Australian Consumer Law has rules about referrals from existing students and the limitations on paying for those
  • establishing an enquiry pipeline. The problem with word of mouth and referral enrolments is it is very difficult for you to decide to double your enquiry rate if you need more students, you are at the mercy of the referrers
  • having a nurturing process for those prospective students who enquire but don't enrol immediately
  • this is also true if you are in the international student business and relying on agents
  • speaking of agents- what huge commissions they are charging these days- they take half of your profit!
  • And the biggest challenge of all- when there are 1001 different ways to recruit students, how do you know which is the most cost effective and successful??

Here’s the good news:

  • There are a lot fewer RTOs now than there were a couple of years ago- so you have less competition
  • There are more international students wanting to come here to study than ever before (ok maybe not just now June 2020).
  • The cost of generating prospective student leads is half what it was two years ago (if you know what you are doing).
  • There is a window of opportunity (before everyone else starts doing it) to use cost effective messenger automation and have tailored personalised conversations with individual prospective students in an environment where they have a high degree of trust and usually only talk to their friends (inside their facebook messenger app- here is an example if you don’t know what we are talking about)
  • You can now communicate direct with potential students by targeting their behaviour, location, demographics, interest, whatever you like. You name it you can target it. You could say `show my course info to everyone who went to the careers expo at this location’ or `show it to everyone who is currently attending courses at this English language college’ or even `everyone who is at this college in [whatever obscure small town in whatever country you like]’ or `all the tradies with mortgages and sore backs who might want to do project management'

So, what’s the REALLY good news? Click here to find out.