National Report on Schooling in Australia 2011

Senior schooling and youth transitions

6.1 Engagement in VET

The Australian Vocational Education and Training (VET) system provides nationally consistent vocational training and qualifications for those entering or already engaged in the workforce. Competency standards (units of competency) for vocational qualifications in different industries and occupations are set out in nationally endorsed training packages, which also define the qualifications in each industry. The requirements for each level of qualification are set out in the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF), which also sets out guidelines for Senior Secondary Certificates of Education (Year 12 qualifications) and qualifications in the higher education sector. Qualifications delivered through the VET sector range from Certificate I (AQF level 1) to Graduate Diploma (AQF level 8).
Secondary school students in all States and Territories are able to undertake VET courses as part of their school program (VET in Schools courses), usually in the senior years of schooling as part of the Senior Secondary Certificate of Education in each jurisdiction. Secondary students can also take VET courses in addition to their school studies, or move from school to full-time VET study or a combination of part-time VET and work.
Until 2008, the proportion of senior secondary students undertaking VET in Schools courses was a key performance measure (KPM) for schooling. From 2009, this KPM was broadened to all 15 to 19-year-old VET students (whether or not they were enrolled in school) as a proportion of the 15 to 19-year-old population. The measure of participation adopted is the completion of at least one unit of competency in a VET qualification at AQF Certificate II or above.
This measure, KPM 6 in the Measurement Framework for Schooling in Australia 2010, includes VET in Schools students, but also includes school-aged students who have left school and are still engaged in education through a campus of Technical and Further Education (TAFE) or other Registered Training Organisation (RTO). Broadening the KPM is consistent with the Compact with Young Australians and the National Youth Participation Requirement which came into force across all jurisdictions in January 2010. These initiatives are outlined in Part 2.5: Initiatives and achievements – supporting senior years of schooling and youth transitions.

Table 6.1 shows the Australian data for this key performance measure for the period 2009–11. Part 9: Additional Statistics Table 18 shows State and Territory data for this KPM.

Key Performance Measure 6

Proportion of the population aged 15 to 19 years who, in the calendar year, successfully completed at least one unit of competency as part of a VET qualification at AQF Certificate II or above

Table 6.1 Number and proportion of 15 to 19-year-olds who successfully completed at least one unit of competency as part of a VET qualification at AQF Certificate II or above, Australia, 2009–11

Australia

2009

2010

2011

Number of 15 to 19-year-olds successfully completing at least one unit of competency at AQF II or above ('000)

360.3

375.2

400.1

15 to 19-year-old population ('000)

1,499.4

1,501.0

1,456.4

Proportion of 15 to 19-year-olds successfully completing at least one unit of competency at AQF II or above (%)

24.0

25.0

27.5


The key performance measure is derived by calculating student numbers in the 15 to 19 year age group as a percentage of the estimated residential population in the corresponding group.

Sources: NCVER, National VET in Schools Collection 2009–11; NCVER, National VET Provider Collection 2009–11; ABS, Estimated Resident Population, Cat. No. 3101.0, Australian Demographic Statistics, Dec. 2011

See also Part 9: Additional Statistics Table 18

VET in Schools includes school-based apprentices and trainees. These are students who, as well as undertaking an accredited VET qualification as part of their school studies, have entered into a formal contract of part-time paid employment and training with an employer. Typically, these students undertake part of their traineeship or apprenticeship while at school and complete it once they have left school.

Table 6.2 shows the number of 15 to 19-year-old school students undertaking VET in Schools programs each year 2007–11. In 2011 there was a seven per cent increase in the number of VET in Schools students, from approximately two hundred and twenty-one thousand in 2010 to approximately two hundred and thirty-six thousand in 2011.

Table 6.2 Number of 15 to 19-year-old students undertaking VET in Schools programs, Australia, 2007-11

Australia

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

School-based apprentices and trainees(a) ('000)

14.8

25.2

20.9

17.3

18.1

Other VET in Schools program students ('000)

154.5

183.5

195.8

203.6

218.3

Total VET in Schools students ('000)

169.3

208.6

216.7

220.9

236.4


(a) School-based apprentices and trainees includes students who undertook at least one module/unit of competency in a school-based apprenticeship or traineeship.

Source: NCVER, Australian Vocational Education and Training Statistics: Young people in education and training 2011

See also Part 9: Additional Statistics Table 19 and Table 20

The VET qualifications attempted by school students are most commonly at AQF Certificate II, but there is an increased policy emphasis on encouraging participation in AQF Certificate III and above, especially for school-based apprentices and trainees. In 2011 there was a noticeable shift from lower to higher level qualifications, with a 14.5 per cent rise in the number of students undertaking Certificate III qualifications and a 9.6 per cent fall in the number undertaking Certificate I.¹

It should be noted that, due to time constraints, VET in Schools courses do not necessarily lead to the achievement of a full AQF VET qualification. Where they do not, students assessed as competent receive a Statement of Attainment towards a certificate or other qualification and are eligible to complete the full qualification post-school.
Table 19 and Table 20 in Part 9: Additional Statistics provide extra information on VET in Schools participation and achievement in 2011 and for the period 2007–11. Further detailed information is contained in the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) publication Australian Vocational Education and Training Statistics: young people in education and training 2011.

¹ Part 9: Additional Statistics Table 20