Flavour of the month – cooking courses are big in VET, again

February international student data reveals a swing from HE to VET (CMM yesterday) and cookery courses are a big part of it


International student enrolments in VET cooking courses have nearly doubled from the top of the last boom in the subject. In 2010, there were 10 117 cookery students, in February national figures report 19 814, up from 11 888 in February 2019.

Cookery is especially popular with students from India, 6,473 of them are studying it – an increase of 12.75 per cent on 2010 and up from 2,736 in February 2019.

Cooking’s popularity is pronounced in Victoria. Overall overseas students studying it at VIC VET providers is 8426, up from 5071 same time last year and from 2148 in 2010.

Indians enrolled in cooking enrolments now number 3353, an increase of 244 per cent on 2010. But students from other countries are also keen. Enrolments from Nepal are 1072 up from 443 last year and 334 in 2010. The Philippines’ figure is 828 up from 236 last year and five in 2010 while there 732 Sri Lankans in February up from 446 last year and 94 in 2010.

Good-o, as long as the lessons of 2010 are remembered. Back then cookery was at the heart of a quality-control crisis in VET. There were issues in teaching standards, inadequate facilities for numbers enrolled and classes conducted nowhere near to colleges.

No-one wants a repeat of that. Surely regulator ASQA will be paying socially-distanced visits to colleges offering cookery, especially in Victoria.

Dirk Mulder is CMM’s international education correspondent