NCVER’s “Total VET students and courses 2021” reports that a total of 4.3 million students were enrolled in nationally recognised vocational education and training (VET) in 2021. This was up 9% from the numbers in 2020.

Earlier VDC News articles reported on VET in schools and Government funded numbers. They, like the numbers reported here, were also up.

The numbers story

Government-funded students increased by 4.5% to 1.4 million in 2021 when compared with 2020’s numbers.

Just over 3500 (actually 3529) registered training organisations (RTOs) delivered nationally recognised VET, and “an estimated 24% of the Australian resident population aged 15 to 64 years participated in this training.”

Comparing the 2021 data from that in 2020 showed that “full-year training equivalents (FYTEs) increased by 12% to 1.1 million.” In addition, “students enrolled in nationally recognised programs increased by 4.4% to 2.1 million.”

In terms of those courses offered through fee for service, domestic numbers increased by about 13% to 3.2 million while – as expected due to the pandemic – international fee-for-service students decreased by 4.3% to 213 000.

Provider type also tells a story with 3.2 million students (about 74%) enrolled at private training providers, about 18% at TAFE institutes, 10.5% at community education providers, around 2 to 2.7% enrolled in other provider types: schools (2.7%), 2.5% at enterprise providers and 1.8% at universities. Historical data from 2017 are also provided, showing that all provider types had reduced in their numbers from a total of nearly 3950 in 2017 to the reported number of 3529 in 2021.

In terms of qualifications undertaken in 2021:

“there were 2.8 million enrolments in nationally recognised programs. 92.6% of these were in qualifications: 86.1% in training package qualifications and 6.5% in accredited qualifications. Compared with 2020, training package qualifications increased by 6.3% to 2 385 400, accredited qualifications increased by 6.6% to 181 300, training package skill sets [interestingly] decreased by 24.3% to 91 600 and accredited courses increased by 10.4% to 113 100.”

In addition, “management and commerce was the most popular field of education, comprising 21.7% of all qualification enrolments. This was followed by Society and culture (19.7%) and Engineering and related technologies (16.0%).” ‘Food, hospitality and personal services’ and architecture and building’ both ran in at around the 8.5% level.

Finally, “the highest number of qualification enrolments were in Certificate III level qualifications (39.4%), followed by Certificate IV (20.0%), and Certificate II (18.8%).”

You can access total VET activity fact sheets here as well as an atlas of total VET activity, which is a mapping resource that provides detailed total VET activity (TVA) information by geographic region, from state or territory level and lower.