NCVER has released the stats for both total VET activity and government-funded VET. What are the messages these two sets of data are telling us?

Compared with 2019, student numbers in government funded training were up 3.5%. On the other hand, total VET student numbers (3.9 million) were down 6.4% over those in 2019.

What are these data telling us?

In terms of total VET activity, or TVA, The data show that “the number of fee-for-service students in Australia (domestically) dropped by 10.4% and the number of international students decreased by 1.2%.”

However, the number of students enrolled in government-funded training were up by 4.3% to 1.3 million, “with increases in the number of students enrolled in nationally recognised programs up by 0.9% to 1.2 million and in stand-alone subjects up by 32.5% to 175 300.

Overall, just over one in five (21.7%) working-aged Australians undertook nationally recognised training in 2020. “Participation of young people was particularly strong, with participation highest for students aged 15 to 19 years old (41.2%), followed by those aged 20 to 24 years (30.6%).” “The highest number of qualification enrolments were at certificate III level (39.2%), followed by certificate II (19.7%) and certificate IV (19.0%).”

In terms of government funded VET students and courses, enrolments increased from 2019 by 2.6% to about 1.4 million. This means that an estimated 7% of the Australian resident population aged 15 to 64 years participated in government-funded VET in Australia in 2020.

For students undertaking nationally recognised VET in 2020, the majority (nearly 78%) were enrolled in training package qualifications. “The highest number of government-funded nationally recognised qualification enrolments were in certificate III at 515 100 (47.4%) followed by certificate IV (19.1%) and certificate II (14.8%).”

But the biggest area of change (drum roll!!) is in ‘short course’ training when compared with 2019. “The number of students enrolled in government-funded training package skill sets increased by 215.6% and those in locally developed skill sets, comprising at least one nationally recognised subject, increased by 65.6%.” According to NCVER’s press release about this publication, this significant increase has largely been driven by government-funded short course training activity reported in one jurisdiction.

The report found that “A total of 1527 training organisations delivered government-funded VET in 2020, including TAFE Institutes, other government providers (such as universities), private and community education providers.” In all it reported that “671 400 government-funded students (56.4%) were enrolled at TAFE institutes, 55 500 (4.7%) at other government providers, 56 300 (4.7%) at community education providers, 363 300 (30.5%) at private training providers, and 88 700 (7.4%) at other training providers.”

Extra stuff you can access!

Total VET activity has a DataBuilder function, which enables you to build your own tables, make selections and export your results. Predefined tables are also available as part of DataBuilder, covering student information, subject enrolments, program enrolments and program completions. There are also a set of TVA factsheets and an atlas of total VET, which is a mapping resource which provides detailed total VET activity (TVA) information by geographic region, from state or territory level and down so that you can hone into particular regions, cities and towns and even lower.

Government funded students and courses also has its own DataBuilder. In addition, there is also an historical time series of these data, beginning from 1981.