The reporting season for 2017 VET data is in full swing.

Data on total VET activity shows that estimated number of students participating in VET has remained steady at 4.2 million. This contrasts with government-funded activity, which declined by nearly 6%  from 2016 to 1.2 million in 2017.

Total VET activity

Nearly 4200 providers delivered training to around 24% of the Australian population aged 15 to 64 in 2017. The highest participation was for those aged 15 to 19.

Provider numbers are down from 2015. In 2017 around 3150 of the providers were private, with community-based providers and schools making up the majority of the remainder. There were around 140 enterprise providers, 41 TAFEs and 13 universities also providing data. In terms of subject enrolments, most are through private providers and fee for service.

In enrolment terms, most are in Certificate IIIs, followed by non-AQF qualifications, Certificate IIs, then Diploma or higher, Certificate IVs and Certificate Is. When compared with 2016 most qualifications were down, except Certificate IIIs – up 2.6%. The lowest fall was for Certificate Is at 0.1%, while the highest fall was for Diplomas and above at around 18%. The majority of enrolments are through Training Package qualifications.

The publication also has data broken down by jurisdiction, provider type, field of education and student characteristics. Want to know more about total VET effort? Take a look at the related infographic and data slicer.

What’s happening in government funded VET?

NCVER’s publication shows that around 1870 providers offered government funded VET programs in 2017. Government providers had the most students, with the great majority in TAFE. Over 577,000 studied in there. Other registered providers, mainly private, were not far behind with 475,000 students. These ‘other’ providers showed the greatest drop in student numbers compared with 2016 data. The community education sector had just over 68,000 students in 2017.

The age profile of students also changed from 2016, with decreases across all age ranges. However, the largest percentage drops were 45-64 year olds (down 11%), followed by the over 65s (down 9%) and those between 25 and 44 (down 7.4%). In 2017, highest student numbers are in the 25-44 and 15-19 age groups respectively (36% vs 26% of total students). These are followed by the 20-24 and 45-64 year old age groups (19% vs 17%). Participation rates decrease with increasing age profile, however.

There was a slight increase in apprentice and trainee numbers (up 1.5%). Numbers of Indigenous students also increased slightly (up 1.2%), but the numbers with a disability fell by 4.2% between 2016 and 2017. Where students are from has also changed from 2016, with student numbers dropping across all locations (major cities, inner and outer regional, remote and very remote), except those based overseas – which have gone up by about 11%

Most students were enrolled in a Certificate III in 2017 (42%), with almost equal proportions in Certificate IIs (13.6%) and IVs (14.5%), followed by Diplomas (10.9%) and Certificate Is (4.6%). Interestingly, Tables 8 and 9 in the publication look at a number of the major demographic characteristics of the 2017 students and compares these with qualification level, non-AQF qualifications and field of study. Table 7 looks at some of these data in a timeseries from 2013.

Much of what is interesting in this publication are the timeseries data. The complementary publications are also of potential interest to VDC newsletter readers. These include the data slicer, the timeseries data from 1981 to 2017 and the infographic. Happy reading!