71% Of VET Students In Independent Sector

Date —

28 Aug 2019

Industry Sector/s —
Vocational Education

Summary —

The latest data from the National Centre for Vocational Education and Research (NCVER) shows that it’s the independent vocational education and training sector that continues to do the heavy-lifting in providing the nation with a skilled workforce. In the context of nationally recognised training, over 71% of students were enrolled at a private provider in 2018; nearly 2.9 million students.

Key Issues —

The latest NCVER data is contained in a report entitled Total VET students and courses 2018 released on 28 August 2019. It shows that over the period 2015-2018 there has been a decrease in the number of students enrolled in nationally recognised training. While concerning on one hand, there has been a more than compensatory increase in the number of students enrolled in subjects that are not nationally recognised over the same period.

Despite the decline in participation across nationally recognised training, it remains that nearly 23% of the Australian resident working age population participated in nationally recognised training in 2018. This level of participation increased to almost 43% for the resident 15 to 19 year old population. In 2018 approximately 2.5 million students were enrolled in subjects that were either stand-alone or not part of a nationally recognised program. This is over 62% of the total and may represent a shift in the attitudes for the working age population in where they choose to access training.

Key Report Findings ꟷ

  • Over 2017-18 student numbers decreased by 1.5% to 4.1 million;
  • Over 2017-18 students enrolled in nationally recognised programs decreased by 5.9% to 2 million; and
  • Over 2017-18 students enrolled in subjects not delivered as part of a nationally recognised program increased by 4.9% to 2.5 million.

The decreases are largely associated with students in government-funded training whereas fee-for-service training, a major focus of the independent tertiary education sector, increased in 2018.

Government Funding Vs Full Fee Paying ꟷ

  • Over 2017-18 domestic fee-for-service students increased by 13.7% to 3 million while FYTEs decreased by 7.0% to 424 600;
  • Over 2017-18 government funded students decreased by 7.3% to 1.2 million and FYTEs decreased by 14.7% to 526 100; and
  • Over 2017-18 international fee-for-service students increased by 37.3% to 194 600 and FYTEs increased by 37.1% to 120 000.

In reviewing the data, the Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia (ITECA) notes that the increase in students enrolled in subjects that are not nationally recognised highlights the growing importance of micro credentials in helping individuals adapt to the changing nature of work.

Over the period 2015 to 2018 there has been a decrease in the number of students enrolled in nationally recognised training. In 2018, there were 4.1 million students enrolled in the VET sector and approximately 2.5 million students were enrolled in subjects that were either stand-alone or not part of a nationally recognised program.

This shift away from full qualifications to training that’s shorter and often not government funded highlights that in order to ensure their skills remain current, workers and their employers are increasingly looking at the offering of independent providers that deliver bespoke occupation-specific training.

The shift from full qualifications is most prescient when considering that over the period 2015 to 2018 the number of government-funded VET students has decreased 7.3% while domestic fee-for-service students have increased by 13.7%. As the Australian Government sets about reforming the VET sector, ITECA is working to highlight the fact that it is independent providers that do the heavy-lifting in the VET sector.

The NCVER data shows that in the context of nationally recognised training, over 71% of students were enrolled at a private provider in 2018, nearly 2.9 million students. This number has been increasing each year since 2015 and equates to an increase in students of 6.6% over the period 2015 to 2018. Comparatively, in 2018 only 19% of students were at a public TAFE college.

ITECA highlights the fact that The NCVER data is clear, when it comes to providing high-quality vocational education and training there is a clear preference for independent providers. It’s hardly surprising as the research shows independent providers achieve higher completion rates, higher post-training employment outcomes and higher student satisfaction levels


Member Engagement:

ITECA’s ability to play a lead role in matters associated with this issue rests on the advice and guidance of individuals serving on the ITECA Vocational Education Reference Committee.

Further Information:

For more information on this issue please send an email to vocational.education@iteca.edu.au or telephone 1300 421 017.  Stay up to date via Twitter @ITECAust or via Facebook at www.facebook.com/ITECAust.

Disclaimer & Copyright:


The material published on this website page is intended for general information only and is not legal advice or other professional advice.  It may not be reproduced without ITECA’s prior written consent.

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