National Report on Schooling in Australia 2010

Senior schooling and youth transitions

6.2 Participation 

The MCEECDYA Key Performance Measures (KPMs) for participation reflect not only the participation of young Australians in schooling, but their participation in post-school education, training and employment. As such, they indicate the success of schooling in preparing students for further education and work, in progressing the Melbourne Declaration commitment to facilitate effective transitions and in achieving the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) National Education Agreement (NEA) outcome that young people make a successful transition from school to work and further study.
 
KPMs 7(c), (d), (e) and (f) measure the full-time participation in education, training and employment of different groups of young people. Full-time participation is defined as participation in full-time education or training or full-time work, or a combination of both part-time education or training and part-time work. The measures are based on the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Survey of Education and Work, which is conducted in May each year.
 
KPM 7(c) measures the full-time participation of young people from the ages of 15 to 19, and includes students who are still at school. It also includes 15 to 19-year-olds who have left school and have moved into tertiary study or the workforce. KPM 7(d) measures the full-time participation of 20 to 24-year-olds, who may be undertaking Vocational Education and Training (VET) or university study, working, or a combination of these activities. KPMs 7(c) and 7(d) are shown for the period 2006–10 in Table 6.3.
 
Key Performance Measure 7(c)
Proportion of 15 to 19-year-olds in full-time education or training, in full-time work, or both in part-time work and part-time
education or training
Key Performance Measure 7(d)
Proportion of 20 to 24-year-olds in full-time education or training, in full-time work, or both in part-time work and part-time
education or training
Table 6.3        Proportions of 15 to 19-year-olds and 20 to 24-year-olds in full-time education or training, in full-time work, or both in
                         part-time work and part-time education or training, Australia, 2006–10 (%)
Year
 
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
 
 
%
%   
%  
%   
%
Full-time participation rates for 15 to 19-year-olds
 
86.9
87.2
87.5
84.5
85.2
 
CI±
0.9
1.0
1.1
1.3
1.5
Full-time participation rates for 20 to 24-year-olds
 
78.9
80.0
80.5
77.8
78.1
 
CI±
1.4
1.2
1.3
2.0
1.6
 
Notes:
CI = Confidence Interval
The percentages reported in this table include 95 per cent confidence intervals. Confidence intervals are a way of expressing the degree of sampling and measurement error associated with survey estimates. For example, an estimate of 80 with a 95% confidence interval of ±2 means that if the total population were surveyed rather than a sample, there is a 95 per cent chance that the result would lie between 78 and 82.
Full-time participation is defined as participation in full-time education or training or full-time work, or a combination of both part-time education or training and part-time work.
 
Source: ABS, Cat. No. 6227.0, Education and Work, May 2010
 
 
 
As shown in Table 6.3, full-time participation rates for young people in their mid to late teens were consistently higher than for those in their early to mid-20s. This is to be expected, as the 15 to 19 year age group includes a high proportion of full-time school students.
 
Between 2006 and 2008, the full-time participation rate for 15 to 19-year-olds rose from 86.9 per cent to 87.5 per cent, but it then fell to 84.5 per cent in 2009. There was a similar pattern for the 20 to 24 years age group, with the full-time participation rate rising from 78.9 per cent in 2006 to 80.5 per cent in 2008 and falling to 77.8 per cent in 2009. For 15 to 19-year-olds, the fall between 2008 and 2009 was statistically significant.
 
The falls in these youth participation rates between 2008 and 2009 are consistent with the reduction in employment opportunities for young people in the wake of the 2008–09 global financial crisis. They reflect falls in participation in employment in these age groups rather than falls in participation in education and training.
 
In the National Education Agreement: Performance report for 2009 (pp. 47–50), the COAG Reform Council (CRC) examines the components of the measures and attributes the decline in participation in 2009 to a significant drop in full-time employment for 15 to 19-year-old school leavers and for 18 to 24-year-olds generally.
 
One of four key points identified in the executive summary of the Council’s report was that ‘...in parallel with the economic downturn in 2009, there was a significant decrease between 2008 and 2009 in the post-school participation of young people in full-time employment, which was not fully offset by participation in education or training’.¹
 
From 2009 to 2010 there was an apparent partial recovery in engagement for both age groups.
 

KPM 7(f) also measures full-time participation in education, training and/or work but for a slightly different age group: 18 to 24-year-olds. Typically, members of this group would have left school, with a substantial number of them undertaking post-school training and education in the VET and/or higher education sectors. This KPM focuses on a specified level of education and training being undertaken as AQF Certificate III or above. This corresponds to the National Education Agreement indicator, the proportion of 18 to 24-year-olds engaged in full-time employment, education or training at or above Certificate III.

Key Performance Measure 7(f)
Proportion of 18 to 24-year-olds engaged in full-time employment, education or training at or above AQF Certificate III
Table 6.4        Proportion of 18 to 24-year-olds engaged in full-time employment, education or training at or above AQF Certificate III,
                         Australia, 2006–10 (%)
Year
 
  2006
 2007
 2008
 2009
  2010
 
 
%
%
%    
%    
%
Full-time participation rates at or above AQF Certificate III for 18 to 24-year-olds
 
74.0
75.5
76.3
72.7
72.6
 
CI±
1.2
1.1
1.2
1.8
1.5
 
Notes:
CI = Confidence Interval
The percentages reported in this table include 95 per cent confidence intervals. Confidence intervals are a way of expressing the degree of sampling and measurement error associated with survey estimates. For example, an estimate of 80 with a 95 per cent confidence interval of ±2 means that if the total population were surveyed rather than a sample, there is a 95 per cent chance that the result would lie between 78 and 82.
 
Full-time participation at or above AQF III is defined as participation in full-time employment, full-time education/training at or above AQF III level, or a combination of full or part-time employment and full or part-time education/training at or above AQF Certificate III level.
 
Source: ABS, Cat. No. 6227.0, Education and Work, May 2010
 
 
  
Between 2006 and 2008, the proportion of 18 to 24-year-olds engaged in full-time employment, education or training at or above AQF Certificate III (Table 6.4) followed a similar pattern to the full-time participation measures for 15 to 19 and 20 to 24-year-olds: rising from 2006 (74.0 per cent) to 2008 (76.3 per cent) and falling significantly to below 2006 levels in 2009 (72.7 per cent). There was no recovery in this measure in 2010, with the CRC noting in relation to this measure in its report to COAG for 2010 that ‘Young people’s engagement in full-time employment did not improve between 2009 and 2010, after falling between 2008 and 2009’.²
The participation rates for KPM 7(f) are consistently lower than those for measures 7(c) and 7(d), because it excludes young people undertaking initial or entry level training in many occupations. Students who are fully engaged in education or training but at VET Certificate II or below, and those young people who are fully engaged in a combination of work and education or training but with the training component at Certificate II or below, are included in measures 7(c) and 7(d) but excluded from KPM 7(f). Students who were 18 years or above and still at school at the time of the survey are also excluded from the numerator of KPM 7(f), but are counted in the denominator (all 18 to 24-year-olds).

Figure 6.1 illustrates the movement in KPMs 7(c), 7(d) and 7(f) over the period 2006–10. 

 
Key Performance Measures 7(c), 7(d) and 7(f)
 
Figure 6.1          Proportions of 15 to 19-year-olds and 20 to 24-year-olds in full-time education or training,  in full-time work, or both in
                               part-time work and part-time education or training; proportion of 18 to 24-year-olds in full-time education or training,
                               in full-time work, or both in part-time work and part-time education or training at or above AQF Certificate III, Australia,
                               20062010 (%)
NRS 2010 - Figure 6.1
Source: ABS, Cat. No. 6227.0, Education and Work, May 2010
 
KPM 7(e), shown in Table 6.5, also measures the full-time participation of 15 to 19-year-olds but includes only those who had left school at the time of the survey. This KPM corresponds to the revised COAG indicator for post-school engagement in education or training.
 
Key Performance Measure 7(e)
Proportion of 15 to 19-year-olds, who have left school, and are fully engaged in education, training or employment, by highest
level of schooling
 
Table 6.5        Proportion of 15 to 19-year-olds who have left school and are fully engaged in education,  training or
                        employment, by highest level of schooling, Australia, 2008–2010 (%)
 
 

2008

2009

2010

Engagement by level of school completed

%

%

%

Completed Year 12

 

 

   

Fully participating in education, training and/or employment

82.5

78.6

77.3

Completed Year 11

 

 

   

Fully participating in education, training and/or employment

63.8

58.2

62.5

Completed Year 10 or below

 

 

 

Fully participating in education, training and/or employment

58.7

50.1

53.0

All 15 to 19-year-old school leavers

 

 

 

Fully participating in education, training and/or employment

74.3

68.4

69.8

CI±

2.0

2.5

2.9

Notes:

CI = Confidence Interval
 
The percentages reported in this table for all 15 to 19-year-olds include 95 per cent confidence intervals. Confidence intervals are a way of expressing the degree of sampling and measurement error associated with survey estimates. For example, an estimate of 80 with a 95 per cent confidence interval of ±2 means that if the total population were surveyed rather than a sample, there is a 95 per cent chance that the result would lie between 78 and 82.
 
Full-time participation is defined as participation in full-time education or training or full-time work, or a combination of both part-time education or training and part-time work.
 
Source: ABS, Cat. No. 6227.0, Education and Work, May 2010
 
 
  

The data in Table 6.5 confirm previous findings of a positive relationship between the level of schooling reached by students and their subsequent engagement in post-school training, education and employment. These data form the evidence base for Australian governments to adopt targets for the completion of Year 12 or equivalent and to establish the Compact with Young Australians including the Youth Participation Requirement. These initiatives are outlined in the National initiatives and achievements – supporting senior years of schooling and youth transitions section of this report.

KPM 7(e) parallels the other youth participation measures in showing a sharp decline in participation between 2008 and 2009 by 15 to 19-year-olds who had left school, reflecting the fall in full-time employment for this age group in 2009 as a result of economic conditions. As with the other participation KPMs, this proportion remained below 2008 levels in 2010.
 

 



¹ COAG Reform Council, National Education Agreement: Performance Report for 2009, Report to the Council of Australian Governments, 30 September 2010 (publicly released 22 October 2010), p. xv
² COAG Reform Council, Education 2010: Comparing performance across Australia, National Education Agreement, Report to the Council of Australian Governments, 30 September 2011 (Publicly released 10 November 2011), p. 42