Government-funded student numbers up

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NCVER has begun the release its impressive range of annual statistical reports. This one is focused on the numbers and nature of those undertaking government-funded VET programs.

It reports that “a total of 1 250 100 students were enrolled in government-funded vocational education and training (VET) in 2021, up by 5% when compared with 2020,” and the latest data shows that, in 2021, the majority of students were enrolled in nationally recognised training (around 96%).

Where are the interesting trends?

NCVER Managing Director Simon Walker points out that,

“Looking at the changes in government-funded students between 2020 and 2021, the largest absolute increase was in qualifications (up 82 000 students or 8.6%). The largest decline was in skill sets (down 21 100 students or 12.1%).”

In addition, he said that:

“Student enrolments increased most in the Community Services, Construction, Health, Automotive, Business Services and Electrotechnology training packages, clustered within Certificate III to Diploma level programs.”

The report also noted that 7.4% of 15 to 64 year-olds were participating in government funded VET and that student numbers have increased by about 10% from 2017 to the latest reporting period (2021).

Numbers were up in most states and territories, ranging from a high of 17% in Tasmania to a low of 2.9% in the Northern Territory, However, numbers actually declined in New South Wales, down almost 2%.

Participation rates have remained largely stable since 2017, but in 2021 they are up for 20-24-year-olds, slightly so for 25-44-year-olds and very slightly down for 15 to 19-year-olds. The 45-64 cohort has been pretty stable over the time period (2017-2021).

Where were the enrolments?

Society and culture were the most popular field of education (15.7%) for government-funded program enrolments followed by Engineering and related technologies. Other fields of study that were up from 2020 were management and commerce; architecture and building; hospitality and personal services; education; health; agriculture, environment and related studies; info tech; creative arts and natural and physical sciences. There were declines in the category ‘No field of education’. And in terms of AQF levels: numbers were up across the board from AQF levels 2 to 5 plus, except in Certificate 1s where enrolments dropped. Completion data followed the same trends.

You can look at an historical time series of these data (1981-2021) here, and the data builder link allows you to develop customised tables on a needs basis. “There are four separate datasets available in DataBuilder: students, program enrolments, program completions and subject enrolments.”

Where were most enrolled?

It’s the private and other providers that win-out here. While in 2021, 1518 training providers delivered government-funded VET, about 52% of that happened at TAFE institutes (and this was down 2.7% from 2020), 4.5% happened at other government providers (up 2.0% from 2020), 5.0% at community education providers (up 7.9% from 2020), nearly 35% at private training providers (up 19.5% from 2020) and nearly 8% at other training providers (up 12.9% from 2020).

Government-funded student numbers up | VDC