National Report on Schooling in Australia 2009

Senior schooling and youth transitions

6.1 Engagement in VET

The Australian Vocational Education and Training (VET) system provides nationally consistent vocational training and qualifications for those entering or already engaged in the workforce. Competency standards (units of competency) for vocational qualifications in different industries and occupations are set out in nationally endorsed training packages, which also define the qualifications in each industry. The requirements for each level of qualification are set out in the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF), which also defines school completion qualifications (Senior Secondary Certificates) and qualifications in the higher education sector. VET sector qualifications range from entry level (Certificate I or II) through higher skills levels (Certificate III and IV, Diploma) to Vocational Graduate Diploma.
Secondary school students in all States and Territories are able to undertake VET courses as part of their school program (VET in Schools courses), usually in the senior years of schooling as part of the Senior Secondary Certificate in each jurisdiction. Secondary students can also take VET courses in addition to their school studies, or move from school to full-time VET study or a combination of part-time VET and work.
Up until 2008, the proportion of senior secondary students undertaking VET in Schools courses was a MCEECDYA Key Performance Measure (KPM) for schooling. From 2009, this KPM has been broadened to all 15 to 19-year-old VET students (whether or not they were enrolled in school) as a proportion of the 15 to 19-year-old population. The measure chosen is the completion of at least one unit of competency in a VET qualification at AQF Certificate II or above. 
This measure, KPM 6 in the Measurement Framework for Schooling in Australia, includes VET in Schools students, but also includes school-aged students who have left school and are still engaged in education through a campus of Technical and Further Education (TAFE) or other VET Registered Training Organisation (RTO). It is shown in Table 6.1 and by State and Territory in Additional Statistics Table 18. Broadening the KPM is consistent with the Compact with Young Australians agreed by COAG in April 2009 and the National Youth Participation Requirement which comes into force in 2010. These initiatives are outlined in Supporting senior years of schooling and youth transitions in this report.
Key Performance Measure 6
Table 6.1       Number and proportion of 15 to 19-year-olds who have successfully completed at least one unit of competency as part of
a VET qualification at AQF Certificate II or above, Australia, 2009
Number of 15 to 19-year-olds successfully completing at least one unit of competency at AQF II or above ('000)
15 to 19-year-old population ('000)
Proportion of 15 to 19-year-olds successfully completing at least one unit of competency at AQF II or above (%)
Sources: NCVER, National VET Provider Collection 2009; NCVER, National VET in Schools Collection 2009; ABS, Estimated Resident Population, 2009
Table 6.2 shows the number of school students in 2009 undertaking VET in Schools programs. The VET qualifications attempted by school students are most commonly at AQF Certificate II, but there is an increased policy emphasis on encouraging participation in AQF Certificate III, especially for school-based apprentices and trainees. It should be noted that, due to time constraints, VET in Schools courses do not necessarily lead to the achievement of a full Certificate II or III. Where they do not, successful students receive a Statement of Attainment towards a certificate and are able to complete the full qualification post-school.
VET in Schools includes school-based apprentices and trainees. These are students who, as well as undertaking an accredited VET qualification as part of their school studies, have entered into a formal contract of part-time paid employment and training with an employer. Typically, these students undertake part of their traineeship or apprenticeship while at school and complete it once they have left school.
Table 6.2        Number of students undertaking VET in Schools programs, Australia, 2009
School-based apprentices and trainees(a) ('000)
Other VET in Schools program students ('000)
Total VET in Schools students ('000)
(a) School-based apprentices and trainees are students who undertook at least one module/unit of competency in a school-based apprenticeship or traineeship.
Source: NCVER, Australian Vocational Education and Training Statistics: young people in education and training 2009; National VET in Schools Collection, 2009
See also Additional StatisticsTable 19 and Table 20

Tables 19 and 20 in the Additional Statistics section of this report provide additional information on VET in Schools participation and achievement in 2009 and for the period 2005–2009. Detailed information is contained in the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) publication Australian Vocational Education and Training Statistics: young people in education and training 2009.