National Report on Schooling in Australia 2009

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 and 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.
 
The following tables and graph depict the participation KPMs for 2009 and for the periods 2005–2009 or 2008-2009.
 

KPM 7 (c) measures the full-time participation of young people in the years immediately following compulsory education, from the ages of 15 to 19, and includes students who are still at school, typically in Years 10, 11 and 12. It also includes 15 to 19-year-olds who have left school and have moved into tertiary study or the workforce. KPM 7 (d) includes the full-time participation of young people in their early to mid-20s, who may be undertaking Vocational Education and Training (VET), university study, working or a combination of these activities. 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 derived from data drawn from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Survey of Education and Work, which is conducted in May each year. These measures are shown for the period 2005–2009 in Table 6.3.

 
Key Performance Measures 7 (c) and 7 (d)
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, 2005
2009
Year
 
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
 
 
%
%
%
%
%
Full-time participation rates for 15 to 19-year-olds
 
86.1
86.9
87.2
87.5
84.5
 
CI±
1.0
0.9
1.0
1.1
1.3
Full-time participation rates for 20 to 24-year-olds
 
78.5
78.9
80.0
80.5
77.8
 
CI±
1.2
1.4
1.2
1.3
2.0
 
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
 
 
 
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 included a large proportion of young people who were still full-time school students.
 
Between 2005 and 2008, the full-time participation rate for 15 to19-year-olds rose from 86.1% to 87.5%, but fell to 84.5% in 2009. There was a similar pattern for full-time participation in the 20 to 24 age group, with an apparent steady rise in the full-time participation rate from 78.5% to 80.5% between 2005 and 2008 and a fall to 77.8% in 2009. For both measures the fall between 2008 and 2009 was statistically significant.

KPM 7 (f), shown in Table 6.4 for the period 2005–2009 also measures full-time participation in education, training and/or work but for a slightly different age group (18 to 24-year-olds). Typically, this group would have left school but may have been engaged in post-school training and education in the VET and/or higher education sectors. This KPM focuses on the level of education and training being undertaken at AQF Certificate III or above. This is a new KPM in the Measurement Framework for Schooling in Australia which 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)
 
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, 2005
2009
Year
 
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
 
 
%
%
%
%
%
Full-time participation rates at or above AQF Certificate III for 18 to 24-year-olds
 
74.0
74.0
75.5
76.3
72.7
 
CI±
1.4
1.2
1.1
1.2
1.8
 
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 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, Survey of Education and Work
 
 
  
Between 2005 and 2008,  changes in 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: an apparent  gradual increase from 2005 (74.0%) to 2008 (76.3%) and a significant decline to below 2005 levels in 2009 (72.7%).
 
Figure 6.1 illustrates the movement in KPMs 7 (c), 7 (d) and 7 (f) over the period 2005–2009.
 
The fall in all youth participation measures between 2008 and 2009 is consistent with a reduction in employment opportunities for young people in the wake of the 2008–09 global financial crisis. In the National Education Agreement: Performance report for 2009, (pp. 47–50) the COAG Reform Council 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.’

 
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,
                               20052009 (%)
figure6.1
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 is a new KPM in the Measurement Framework for Schooling in Australia, which corresponds to the revised COAG indicator for post-school engagement in education or training.
 
Key Performance Measure 7 (e)
 
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, 2008–2009 (%)
 
   2008
     2009
 
Engagement by level of school completed
   %
     %
 
Completed Year 12
 
   
 
Fully participating in education, training and/or employment
82.5
78.6
 
Completed Year 11
 
   
 
Fully participating in education, training and/or employment
63.8
58.2
 
Completed Year 10 or below
   
 
Fully participating in education, training and/or employment
58.7
50.1
 
All 15-19-year-old school leavers
   
 
Fully participating in education, training and/or employment
74.3
68.4
 
CI±
2.0
2.5
 
Notes:
CI = Confidence Interval
The percentages reported in this table for all 15-19 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% 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 for KPM 7 (e) confirm previous findings that identify there is a positive relationship between the level of schooling reached by students and their subsequent engagement in post-school training, education and employment. The acceptance of this relationship by policy makers has informed the decision of 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 significant 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.