For the first time we have total projected completion rates for all types VET programs, not just those that are government-funded.
NCVER has released a variety of products to present a clearer picture of actual and projected completion rates.
What does the data tell us?
According to NCVER the ‘highlights’ of the completions story for programs beginning in 2016 are that the overall completion rate is 47%. There is variation by provider type, though. Programs delivered in schools (54%), enterprise providers (52%) and universities (49%) have the highest national estimated projected program completion rates. Private providers have an estimated completion rate of 48%, while the rates for community education providers and TAFE are 47% and 43% respectively.
Rates also vary according to the funding source, with an estimated 50% completion rate for Commonwealth and state funded programs, 39% for fee-for-service programs undertaken by domestic students and 70% for fee-for-service programs undertaken by international students.
Projected completion rates also vary according to the state or territory in which the training is delivered. Highest projected rates for 2016 are in New South Wales, the ACT and Queensland, while the lowest are in Tasmania, the Northern Territory and South Australia. We have to be a bit careful here, as NCVER points out that these rates “may not be directly comparable across jurisdictions, with rates being impacted by differing jurisdictional enrolment practices and funding policies.”
The level of study has an effect on the projected rates, with the highest estimated rates for 2015 and 2016 being for Certificate IVs, followed by Certificate IIIs and Diplomas or higher-level qualifications. The lowest completion estimates are for Certificate Is.
The paper also provides a timeseries, with actual or projected completions data for government-funded training from 2012 onwards. On the whole, the jurisdictional trends seem to be showing generally steady or increasing completions levels. As always, completion rates for those studying full-time tend to be higher whether we are looking at the data in terms of the jurisdiction where the study is taking place or the level of the qualification. Again, though, readers need to be a bit cautious about the conclusions they draw.
Finally, there are differences in completion rates depending on the field of study. NCVER reports that projected total VET program completion rates by field of education are the highest for natural and physical sciences (64%) and both the society and culture and health fields (around 60%) and lowest for information technology (39%), architecture and building (about 37%) and mixed-field programs (33%).
In addition to the main report, there is also a fact sheet and a ‘data slicer’, which enables users to create customised tables from the publication. They can all be found using the link just above or at the beginning of this article. Readers of the newsletter may also be interested in a technical paper by NCVER’s Brad McDonald about total VET completion rates.