Report on Government Services 2021
Part B, section 5: RELEASED ON 2 FEBRUARY 2021
5 Vocational education and training
Updated data were released on 3 June 2021. To access the updated data please refer to the latest update
This section is presented in a new online format. Dynamic data visualisations replace the static chapter format used in previous editions. Machine readable data are also available for download. A guide is available on accessing information in the new format.
Impact of COVID-19 on data for the Vocational education and training services section
COVID-19 may affect data in this Report in a number of ways. This includes in respect of actual performance (that is, the impact of COVID-19 on service delivery in 2020 which is reflected in the data results), and the collection and processing of data (that is, the ability of data providers to undertake data collection and process results for inclusion in the Report).
For the Vocational education and training section, COVID-19 has affected the data, so that the completeness of three indicators has changed. These indicators are:
- Students who achieve main reason for training
- Student satisfaction with quality of training
- Student employment and further study outcomes.
This section reports performance information for vocational education and training (VET) services.
The Indicator Results tab uses data from the data tables to provide information on the performance for each indicator in the Indicator Framework. The same data are also available in CSV format.
- Indicator Framework
- Indicator Results
- Indigenous Data
Objectives for VET
The VET system aims to deliver a productive and highly skilled workforce through enabling all working age Australians to develop and use the skills required to effectively participate in the labour market and contribute to Australia’s economic future. To achieve this, the Australian, State and Territory governments aim to create a national training system that:
- is accessible to all working age Australians
- meets the needs of students, employers and industries
- is high quality.
Governments aim for a national training system that meets these objectives in an equitable and efficient manner.
The VET system provides training for entry level jobs through to highly technical occupations, but also provides training for non-employment related reasons. Nationally in 2019, the main reason graduates participated in VET was for:
- employment related reasons (85.1 per cent in total VET and 83.9 per cent in government-funded VET)1
- personal development (11.3 per cent in total VET and 11.4 per cent in government-funded VET)
- pathways to further study (3.6 per cent in total VET and 4.7 per cent in government-funded VET) (NCVER 2019).
To achieve these aims, a student may choose to complete a single subject/unit of competency, module, skill set or VET qualification. VET qualifications range from Certificate level I to Graduate Diploma level, as determined by the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF).
- Total VET refers to nationally recognised vocational education and training activity delivered by Australian registered training organisations (RTOs) to students who undertook nationally recognised VET on a government funded or fee-for-service basis. All data for non-nationally recognised training and delivery from non-registered training providers have been excluded from reporting of total VET activity in this Report. Locate Footnote 1 above
Roles and responsibilities
VET is an area of shared responsibility between interlinked government, industry and individual stakeholders (figure 5.1).
Figure 5.1 VET roles and responsibilities, as at 30 June 2019
2 The Australian Government ministerial arrangement changed on 29 May 2019.
3 At its August 2019 meeting, COAG announced a new COAG Skills Council, which replaces the COAG Industry and Skills Council. COAG ceased in July 2020 and was replaced by the National Cabinet.
Federal governance arrangements
Government roles and responsibilities are outlined in the National Agreement for Skills and Workforce Development, and are summarised below:
- The Australian Government provides financial support to State and Territory governments to sustain national training systems and provides specific incentives, interventions and assistance for national priority areas.
- State and Territory governments manage VET delivery within their jurisdiction (including the effective operation of the training market).
- The Australian Government and State and Territory governments work together to progress and implement national policy priorities. For the period covered in this Report, the COAG Industry and Skills Council had responsibility for industry competitiveness, productivity and labour market pressures; and skills development and national training arrangements.
From 1 July 2018, the Commonwealth and six jurisdictions have signed up to the National Partnership on the Skilling Australians Fund.4 This National Partnership outlines arrangements for managing the Australian Government’s Skilling Australians Fund.
The Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC) provides industry advice on the implementation of national VET policies, and approves nationally recognised training packages for implementation in the VET system.
The AISC draws on advice from its network of Industry Reference Committees (IRCs). IRCs are made up of people with experience, skills and knowledge of their particular industry sector and are responsible for developing training packages that meet the needs of Australian industry. IRCs are voluntary bodies that are supported by professional Skills Service Organisations in training package development work.
Regulation of VET
The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) accredits courses and regulates registered training organisations (RTOs) to ensure nationally approved quality standards are met. ASQA has jurisdiction over all RTOs, except for those that are state accredited and operate solely in Victoria or WA (and do not offer courses to interstate and overseas students).
Registered Training Organisations
Registered training organisations (RTOs) are those training providers registered by ASQA (or, in some cases, a state regulator) to deliver VET services, including:
- government VET providers — such as technical and further education (TAFE) institutes, agricultural colleges and multi-sector education institutions
- community education providers — such as adult and community education providers
- other registered providers — such as: private training businesses; industry and community bodies with an RTO arm; employers that have RTO status to train their own staff; Group Training Organisations or Apprenticeship Network Providers that also deliver VET services.
Nationally recognised training
The VET sector delivers ‘nationally recognised training’ through:
- Training packages that are occupational skills standards against which training delivery and assessment of competency can take place. They are developed through a process of national consultation with industry (see sub-section 5.2 for a definition of training packages)
- VET accredited courses which enable nationally accredited training in niche areas or in response to rapidly-emerging industry needs, where these are not covered by existing training package qualifications.
Nationally recognised VET qualifications or VET statements of attainment are issued by RTOs following the full or partial completion of a qualification from a training package or VET accredited course. Apprenticeships/traineeships combine employment and competency-based training, including both formal nationally recognised training and on-the-job training.
- The six jurisdictions are NSW, WA, SA, Tasmania, the ACT and the NT. The National Partnership Agreement on Skills Reform ceased on 30 June 2017. Locate Footnote 4 above
Figure 5.2 outlines the major funding flows within the VET system.
Figure 5.2 Major funding flows within the VET system
Government grants and competitive tendering
The main source of government recurrent funding of VET is via government grants and appropriations and/or competitive tendering/user choice mechanisms. Nationally in 2019, Australian, State and Territory government appropriations and program funding for VET was $5.3 billion (table 5A.5).
- State and Territory governments provided $3.6 billion (68.3 per cent of total funding).
- The Australian Government provided $1.7 billion to State and Territory governments, with the majority provided through specific purpose payments.
Government funding of VET is provided to a mixture of government RTOs (including TAFEs), and community education providers and other registered RTOs. Nationally, government payments to non-TAFE providers amounted to $1.1 billion in 2019, similar to 2018 (table 5A.4).
Nationally in 2019, $2.8 billion (53.8 per cent) of government appropriations and program funding was allocated on a competitive basis — a 3.6 per cent increase in real terms from 2018. The majority of funding allocated on a competitive basis was provided through entitlement funding programs (see sub-section 5.2 for a definition) (59.9 per cent of all contestable funding allocated to VET in 2019) (table 5A.5).
Financial support to students, employers and industry from the Australian, State and Territory governments includes the following:
- Incentives and loans to individuals — such as incentive payments (for example, to support with the cost of learning during training) and program subsidies and government loans (for example, VET Student Loans — see sub-section 5.2 for a definition)
- Skills development and incentives to employers — including support with the cost of employing and training staff in the form of subsidies and incentive payments (such as for Australian Apprenticeships)
- Support for the National Training System — including funding to industry bodies to support the training system, and assist in the identification of skills needs and the development of skills programs (for example, Skills Service Organisations and the Australian Apprenticeship Support Network).
Governments provide for a number of specifically funded VET programs to provide support for target individuals or communities. For example, support for people with special needs to engage with training, or support for VET delivered in secondary schools.
Size and scope
Nationally in 2019, around 4.2 million students participated in nationally recognised VET (total VET students) (table 5A.8). Around 2.0 million students were enrolled in qualifications, with the largest number of these students enrolled in certificate level III or IV qualifications (1.3 million), followed by certificate level I or II (0.5 million), and diploma or above (0.4 million) qualifications. Other students were enrolled in subjects not delivered as part of a nationally recognised program (2.6 million) and in training package skill sets and accredited courses (0.2 million).
In 2019, around 1.2 million students participated in government-funded VET (table 5A.9). Around 1.0 million students were enrolled in government-funded qualifications, with the largest number of these students enrolled in certificate level III or IV qualifications (0.7 million), followed by certificate level I or II (0.2 million), and diploma or above (135 600) qualifications. Other students were enrolled in other forms of government-funded nationally recognised and non-nationally recognised training.
Data on student participation in government-funded VET by target group (by Indigenous status, remoteness area and disability status) are available in tables 5A.10–12.
In 2019, there were 3671 registered VET training organisations delivering nationally recognised training in Australia (table 5A.6), of which 1381 delivered nationally recognised government-funded VET through state and territory training departments (NCVER, unpublished). Around 1620 VET providers delivered government-funded nationally recognised, locally developed and non-nationally recognised training, at 32 568 locations in Australia (table 5A.7).
NCVER (National Centre for Vocational Education Research) 2019, Australian vocational education and training statistics: VET student outcomes 2019 , Adelaide.
The performance indicator framework provides information on equity, efficiency and effectiveness, and distinguishes the outputs and outcomes of VET services.
The performance indicator framework shows which data are complete and comparable in this Report. For data that are not considered directly comparable, text includes relevant caveats and supporting commentary. Section 1 discusses data comparability and completeness from a Report-wide perspective. In addition to the service area's Profile information, the Report’s statistical context (Section 2) contains data that may assist in interpreting the performance indicators presented in this section.
Improvements to performance reporting for VET services are ongoing and include identifying data sources to fill gaps in reporting for performance indicators and measures, and improving the comparability and completeness of data.
Outputs are the services delivered (while outcomes are the impact of these services on the status of an individual or group) (see section 1). Output information is also critical for equitable, efficient and effective management of government services.
Outcomes are the impact of services on the status of an individual or group (see section 1).
An overview of the VET services performance indicator results are presented. Different delivery contexts, locations and types of clients can affect the equity, effectiveness and efficiency of VET services.
Information to assist the interpretation of these data can be found in the VET supporting interpretative material and data tables. Data tables are identified by a ‘5A’ prefix (for example, table 5A.1).
All data are available for download as an excel spreadsheet and as a CSV dataset — refer to Download supporting material. Specific data used in figures can be downloaded by clicking in the figure area, navigating to the bottom of the visualisation to the grey toolbar, clicking on the 'Download' icon and selecting 'Data' from the menu. Selecting 'PDF' or 'Powerpoint' from the 'Download' menu will download a static view of the performance indicator results.
Performance indicator data for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in this section are available in the data tables listed below. Further supporting information can be found in the interpretative material and data tables.
|Table number||Table title|
|Table 5A.13||Whether training helped graduates achieve their main reason for training, all government-funded graduates (per cent)|
|Table 5A.14||Proportion of all government-funded graduates satisfied with the quality of their training, by satisfaction outcome (per cent)|
|Table 5A.17||Proportion of 20-64 year old total VET graduates employed and/or in further study after training, by target group (per cent)|
|Table 5A.18||Proportion of 20-64 year old government-funded graduates employed and/or in further study after training, by target group (per cent)|
|Table 5A.19||Proportion of total VET graduates aged 20–64 years who improved their employment status after training, by target group (per cent)|
|Table 5A.20||Proportion of government-funded graduates aged 20-64 years who improved their employment status after training, by target group (per cent)|
|Table 5A.23||Total VET AQF qualifications completed per 1000 people aged 15-64 years, by target group|
|Table 5A.24||Government-funded VET AQF qualification completed per 1000 people aged 15–64 years, by target group|
|Table 5A.25||Total VET AQF qualifications completed per 1000 people aged 15–64 years, by AQF level|
|Table 5A.26||Government-funded VET AQF qualifications completed per 1000 people aged 15–64 years, by AQF level|
|Table 5A.27||Total VET AQF qualification completions by 20–64 year olds with improved education status after training, by target group|
|Table 5A.28||Government-funded VET AQF qualification completions by 20–64 year olds with improved education status after training, by target group|
Download supporting material
- 5 Vocational education and training interpretative material (PDF - 609 Kb)
- 5 Vocational education and training interpretative material (Word - 54 Kb)
- 5 Vocational education and training data tables (XLSX - 419 Kb)
- 5 Vocational education and training dataset (CSV - 561 Kb)
See the interpretative material and corresponding table number in the data tables for detailed definitions, caveats, footnotes and data source(s).
Note: An errata was released for section 5 VET above.
The following text has changed for section 5 VET, Context, Size and Scope (no change to data tables):
- references to enrolments in government-funded VET qualifications at certificate level I or II and diploma and above have been reversed, and now correctly reflect the larger number of enrolments in certificate level I or II (0.2 million) compared to diploma or above (135 600).