Notes on the data: Education

Participation in vocational education and training - Aboriginal and total population, 2022


Policy context: Vocational education and training (VET) is post-compulsory education and training that provides people with occupational or work-related knowledge and skills [1]. VET programs may be government-funded, or delivered on a fee-for-service basis by public or private providers. Courses are practical and skills-based, and many study areas include work placements or work-based learning [2].

Accredited VET programs cover a wide range of activities, including part-day employer-specific training, general use courses such as first aid training, year-long employment-related certificates, multi-year apprenticeships, and postgraduate diplomas, including those provided at Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) levels 1 to 6, and level 8, as well as non-award courses [3].

Nationally accredited VET courses are designed and taught by industry experts and are delivered by: government-owned technical and further education (TAFE) institutes, independent registered training providers (RTOS), and dual sector universities that offer VET and higher education programs [2]. An Australian VET qualification can be a stepping stone towards further study or a higher education (university level) degree [2]. VET programs offer industry-specific skills and pathways to initial employment opportunities [4].

In 2022, 25% of the Australian resident population aged 15 to 64 years participated in VET programs, with the highest participation group being students aged 15 to 19 years (47%) [5].


  1. NCVER. Terms and Definitions: National VET Provider and VET in Schools Collections. National Centre for Vocational Education Research, Adelaide 2023.
  2. Vocational Education and Training (VET). Study Australia, Australian Government. Accessed 12th of March 2024
  3. The Vocational Education and Training Sector: A Quick Guide. Parliament of Australia. Accessed 12th of March 2024
  4. Gørgens T, Ryan C. The impact of additional educational qualifications for early school leavers. Canberra: Department of Education, Science and Training; 2006.
  5. NCVER. Total VET students and courses 2022. Statistical Report. Accessed 19th of March 2024

Notes: Vocational education and training (VET) data includes 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; data for addresses not in this index are included in the Australia total only (approximately 9% of NCVER records are affected).

Details of data presented

Separate data are presented for:

  • Aboriginal population participation in VET
  • Total population participation in VET

Note: Non-Indigenous data for VET can now be found in the Indigenous status comparison atlas. The difference between the total population figures and the sum of Aboriginal and non-Indigenous figures arises from unknown Indigenous status and data compilation issues.


Geography: Data available by Population Health Area, Local Government Area, Primary Health Network, Quintile of socioeconomic disadvantage of area and Quintiles within PHNs, and Remoteness Area


Numerator: Aboriginal or total students participating in vocational education and training


Denominator: Aboriginal or total Estimated Resident Population


Detail of analysis: Indirectly age-standardised rate per 100 population; and/or indirectly age-standardised ratio, based on the Australian standard



Aboriginal students: Compiled by PHIDU based on data from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research DataBuilder (, 2022; and the Aboriginal usual resident population, 2021

Total students: Compiled by PHIDU based on data from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research DataBuilder (, 2022; the ABS Estimated Resident Population, 30 June 2022.


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