We know that rural young people have less access to higher education than do metropolitan youth, and that the effect of location is a much stronger influence than SES or achievement. We also know that, based on achievement data, many rural young people, who might be expected to enrol in university, undertake VET programs. Lee and Coelli (2010) show that sub-diploma VET programs do not lead to enhanced outcomes for school-completers. it appears, therefore, that using VET as a substitute for higher education may disadvantage rural youth. this need not be so. Post-Bradley, we should expect to see partnerships between VET and universities that generate pathways into higher education, and lead to higher skills for rural youth and their communities.