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ABOUT THIS PUBLICATION
Data comparisons for people across the 2001, 1997 and 1993 surveys on this topic can only be made for part of the Australian population aged 15 to 64 years - those in, or marginally attached to, the labour force who were not attending school (see paragraphs 34 to 38 of the Explanatory Notes).
In 1993, 4,264,500 of these people (46%) had completed a non-school qualification. This number increased to 4,918,300 (52%) in 1997, and then to 5,898,200 (57%) in 2001.
During 1993, 14% of people (1,314,900) in this group studied towards a non-school qualification. This number fell to 1,248,500 (13%) in 1997, then rose to 1,643,400 people (16%) in 2001.
Thirty per cent of these people had completed a training course in the 12 months prior to the 1993 survey. This proportion grew to 42% in 1997, and then to 45% in 2001. On-the-job training remained reasonably steady over the same period, with 71% of people having undertaken some on-the-job training in 1993, and 69% in 2001.
Since 1997 though, the average duration of work-related training courses completed by wage or salary earners fell by 16% from 20.6 hours to 17.4 hours. Falls in average duration occurred across all industries except for Government administration and defence and Communication services, both of which experienced moderate increases.
Level and field
Thirty-one per cent of people aged 15 to 64 years had a highest educational attainment of Year 10 or below. The highest educational attainment of a further 17% was Year 12, followed by Certificate III or IV (15%), and Bachelor degree (11%). The most common main field of highest educational attainment was Mixed field programmes (57%), which includes study at school level. This was followed by Engineering and related technologies (10%), and Management and commerce (8%).
Educational attainment patterns varied by age. For example, almost half (48%) of people aged 55 to 64 had not attained higher than Year 10, whereas for 25 to 34 year olds the equivalent proportion was 20%. Patterns also varied by sex. A greater proportion of males had a highest educational attainment of Certificate III or IV than females did (23% compared with 8%), which reflects the study of trade-related certificates by males.
Some levels of educational attainment were dominated by particular fields of study. Of the 1,993,600 people with Certificate III or IV as their highest educational attainment, 891,800 (45%) were in the field of Engineering and related technologies. Of the 462,300 people with a highest educational attainment of Graduate diploma or Graduate certificate, 180,400 (39%) were in the Education field.
Labour force status
People with a highest educational attainment of Bachelor degree or higher were more likely to be employed than those with a lower educational attainment. Of the 2,198,500 people not attending school whose highest educational attainment was Bachelor degree or higher, 86% were employed, 2% were unemployed and 12% were not in the labour force. Of the other 9,985,200 people not attending school, 71% were employed, 5% were unemployed and 24% were not in the labour force.
Usual weekly earnings
Generally, average usual weekly earnings increased as the level of highest educational attainment increased. Average usual weekly earnings for wage or salary earners working full-time in their main job (excluding people attending school) was $1,383 for those with a Postgraduate degree, and $1,124 for those whose highest educational attainment was Graduate diploma or Graduate certificate. This compares with $737 for Year 12 and $709 for Year 11. Average usual weekly earnings for full-time wage or salary earners was lowest for those with Certificate I or II as their highest educational attainment ($599). Earnings for part-time wage or salary earners also followed this pattern.
On average, full-time wage or salary earners whose highest educational attainment was in the Information technology field earned the most ($1,222 per week). This was followed by those whose highest educational attainment was in the Management and commerce field ($1,112), and the Natural and physical sciences field ($1,098). Weekly earnings were lowest for those whose highest attainment was in the Food, hospitality and personal services field ($637).
Details were collected for up to three completed non-school qualifications per person. Overall, of the 9,710,500 completed non-school qualifications, 27% were at Certificate III or IV level, and a further 23% were Bachelor degrees. Postgraduate degree was the least common non-school qualification reported (only 4% of all qualifications). Approximately 23% of completed non-school qualifications were in the Management and commerce field, and 20% were in the Engineering and related technologies field.
PARTICIPATION IN EDUCATION
Level and field
In 2001, 20% of people aged 15 to 64 years were enrolled in a course of study. Of these people, 72% were enrolled in a non-school qualification and 28% were studying at school level (based on the highest level of study in the case of people who were studying towards a non-school qualification while attending school). Bachelor degrees were the most common type of non-school study, with 24% of students studying towards this level in 2001, followed by 14% who studied for a Certificate III or IV.
Aside from Mixed field programmes which is mainly comprised of school level study, the most commonly reported main field of study in 2001 was Management and commerce (19% of all people studying), followed by Society and culture (13%). The least common field of study was Agriculture, environmental and related studies, which accounted for only 2% of all people studying.
More than a quarter (26%) of people who studied during 2001 were dependent students studying at school level. A further 15% were dependent students studying towards a non-school qualification, 15% were students who lived with a partner and a dependent child, and 14% were non-family members of a household. Of this latter group of non-family members, about half (48%) were studying towards a Bachelor degree or higher. In contrast, 34% of people who lived with a partner and a dependent child studied towards a Bachelor degree or higher. Across the States and Territories, the proportion of students studying for a Bachelor degree or higher varied from a low of 22% (Tasmania) to a high of 44% (Australian Capital Territory).
People who were born overseas and first spoke a language other than English accounted for 12% of students overall, yet they made up 21% of Postgraduate degree students. Those born in Australia whose first language spoken was English accounted for 75% of students and comprised 82% of those studying at school level.
In 2001, almost a third (32%) of those enrolled to study for a non-school qualification were studying towards a Bachelor degree. This was the only qualification level in which full-time students outnumbered part-timers (442,300 to 161,300). Overall, 58% of students studying towards a non-school qualification were enrolled part-time, and 81% studied at either a TAFE or technical college, or a university or other higher education institution. Classroom instruction, lectures, etc. or reading materials were the main methods of course delivery for 92% of students.
Over two-thirds (68%) of students had access to the internet at home. Levels of home internet access increased as the level of qualification being studied increased. Only 52% of Certificate I or II students had access, whereas 84% of Postgraduate degree students had access to the internet at home.
PARTICIPATION IN TRAINING
In the 12 months prior to the survey, 4,781,000 people (of whom 52% were male) completed one or more work-related training courses.
Relatively high rates of training course completion were found for partnered males with dependent children (48%), female non-family members (46%), and those living in remote and very remote areas (45%). Relatively low rates were found for dependent students (20%), overseas-born people whose first language spoken was not English (24%), and other related individuals (30%). People with disabilities (31%) and Indigenous people living in non-sparsely settled areas (32%) also had relatively low rates of training course completion.
Field of training
Information was collected for up to four training courses per person. Overall, 29% of the 9,838,800 reported training courses were in the Management and professional field. Other commonly reported fields of training were Health and safety (16%), and Technical and para-professional (12%).
Type of employment
Most reported training courses (84%) were completed by people who were wage or salary earners at the time of training. Eleven per cent of training courses were completed by people working in their own business, and 4% by people who were not working at the time of training.
Almost two-thirds (63%) of reported training courses were internal. In 52% of the 3,627,800 external training courses completed, participants received some form of financial support. Wage or salary earners who completed an external training course were far more likely to receive financial support than other participants (74% compared to 18%).
Industry and occupation
Of the 8,261,600 training courses completed by people who were wage or salary earners at the time of training, 14% were completed by those working in the Health and community services industry, followed by 13% in the Education industry. Wage or salary earners working in the Personal and other services industry who completed at least one training course, averaged 25.1 hours per training course, while those in the Retail trade industry averaged the least amount of time per training course (13.1 hours). Comparing occupations, Tradespersons and related workers spent the highest average time per training course (29.2 hours), while Elementary clerical, sales and service workers averaged the least time per training course (11.4 hours).
For 89% of training courses completed by wage or salary earners, participants considered the skills gained from the training course were transferable, that is, they could be used in a similar job with another employer.
PARTICIPATION IN EDUCATION AND TRAINING
Barriers to study and training
Of people not at school, 20% wanted to, but did not, undertake some or more study in the 12 months prior to the survey, and 24% wanted to, but did not, undertake some or more work-related training courses. Of the 2,486,500 people who wanted to undertake some or more study, the main reason provided for not studying was 'Financial reasons' (21%), followed by 'No time' (20%), and 'Too much work' (14%). For 17% of women (compared with 2% of men) in this group, the main reason for not studying was 'Caring for family members'.
Of the 2,931,600 people who wanted to, but did not, undertake some or more work-related training courses in the previous 12 months, the main reason provided for not undertaking training was 'Too much work' (18%). Other main reasons were 'No time' (17%), 'Financial reasons' (14%), and 'Lack of employer support' (12%).
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