Notes on the data: Aboriginal education

Aboriginal Load Pass Rate of vocational education and training subjects, 2020


Policy context:   Vocational education and training (VET) refers to post-compulsory education and training (excluding degree and higher level programs delivered by further education institutions) which provides people with occupational or work-related knowledge and skills [1]. VET also includes programs which provide the basis for subsequent vocational programs. VET qualifications include certificates, diplomas, trade certificates, traineeships and other qualifications awarded by Technical and Further Education (TAFE) colleges and other training providers [2]. VET programs may be government-funded, or delivered on a fee-for-service basis by public or private providers. For school-aged participants, VET programs offer industry-specific skills and pathways to further study and initial employment opportunities [2].

Participation in VET programs is higher among the Indigenous population than the non-Indigenous population. For younger Indigenous Australians, VET is principally an alternative to schooling as a means for continuing education and training, while for younger non-Indigenous Australians, it complements twelve years of schooling [3].

In 2010, changes to VET FEE-HELP policy saw regulations for VET FEE-HELP providers softened. This led to inappropriate and unethical practices by some providers, including aggressive marketing targeting vulnerable people, with little or no risk of repercussions. Policy was updated in 2015 to address the issues and protect the interests of students. The effectiveness of these measures is yet unknown [4].


  1. Naidu R, Stanwick J, Frazer K. Glossary of VET, National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER), Adelaide. 2013.
  2. Gørgens T, Ryan C. The impact of additional educational qualifications for early school leavers. Canberra: Department of Education, Science and Training; 2006.
  3. Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs (MCEETYA) Taskforce on Indigenous Education. Exploring multiple pathways for Indigenous students: discussion paper. Carlton, Victoria: Curriculum Corporation for MCEETYA; 2001.
  4. Noonan P. VET funding in Australia: Background trends and future directions. Mitchell Institute, Melbourne. 2016.


Vocational education and training (VET) data include all VET activity delivered in Australia to Australian residents by government providers (TAFE institutes, Universities and other government providers), community education providers, enterprise providers, private training providers and schools.

NCVER uses an ABS coding index (click here for more information) to allocate data with partial address information to a single SA2 area. Coding indexes are tables that list a geographic area against its most appropriate match in the ASGS, data for addresses not in this index are included in the Australia total only approximately 9% of NCVER records are affected.


Funding source: Vet activity is reported as government-funded if the activity received Commonwealth and state funding, and privately-funded if domestic fee-for-service. Funding source is attributed irrespective of VET provider.

Load Pass Rate: The load pass rate (LPR) is the ratio of hours, or full-year training equivalents (FYTEs), attributed to students who gain competencies/passed assessment in an assessable module or unit of competency to all students who were assessed and either passed, failed or withdrew. The calculation is based on the annual hours (or FYTEs) for each assessable module or unit of competency and includes competencies achieved/units passed through recognition of prior learning (RPL) [1].

The calculation for LPR is as follows:

Competency achieved passed + RPL granted, as a proportion of

Competency achieved passed + Competency not achieved failed + Withdrawn discontinued + RPL granted.


  1. National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER), Australian vocational education and training statistics: the likelihood of completing a government-funded VET program, NCVER, Adelaide, 2016

Geography: Data available by Indigenous Area, Primary Health Network, Quintile of socioeconomic outcomes (based on IRSEO) and Remoteness Area


Numerator:  Vocational education and training subjects passed, expressed in hours


Denominator:  Total assessable vocational education and training subjects, expressed in hours


Detail of analysis:   Per cent


Source:  Compiled by PHIDU based on data from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research Ltd., 2020


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