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1380.0.55.011 - Perspectives on Regional Australia: Non-school Qualifications in Regions, 2011  
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Introduction
Non-school qualifications in Australia
Non-school qualifications in regions
Level of qualification
Field of qualification
Management and commerce
Engineering and related technologies
State and territory analysis
Summary
Endnotes


INTRODUCTION

This article looks at the rate of attainment of highest non-school qualifications among the population aged 20-64 years in regions, using data from the 2011 Census of Population and Housing. The educational attainment of the population is a critical part of the skills available in regional labour markets and is an important component of human capital in regions.

The availability of skilled workers is a key regional development issue. There has been growing concern that the anticipated retirement of 'baby boomers' from the workforce could lead to a shortage of skilled workers to meet Australia's labour market needs. The COAG National Agreement for Skills and Workforce Development (Endnote 1) recognises the need for greater skill attainment in the Australian workforce and it has been raised as a particular concern by Regional Development Australia committees in many regions, as highlighted in the ABS Research Paper: A Review of Regional Development Australia Committee Regional Plans, 2013 (cat. no. 1381.0).

Human capital - the knowledge and skills with which people contribute to society and the economy - is considered a key determinant of regional economic development (Endnote 2, Endnote 3). Human capital can be developed in various ways, including through education and training, by improving one's health and by obtaining new skills at work. In particular, education has been recognised as an increasingly important driver of the growth of human capital (Research Paper: Measuring Human Capital Flows for Australia: A Lifetime Labour Income Approach (cat. no. 1351.0.55.023)).

This article begins by describing non-school educational attainment in Australia and introducing the relationship between educational attainment and age. It then explores regional patterns of non-school educational attainment, including higher education and vocational qualifications. The final section looks at the fields in which people obtained their highest qualification and explores the two most common fields across all regions; management and commerce, and engineering and related technologies.

People aged 20 to 64 years are the focus of this article, as they would be expected to have finished their secondary school education and are within the age group generally considered to be of working age (15 to 64 years). Statistical Areas Level 4 (SA4) are used as the basis for regional analysis as these represent labour market regions. Non-school qualifications as discussed in this article include certificates level III and above, as defined in the Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED), 2001 (cat. no. 1272.0).


Regional data used in this article are provided in the datacube available via the Downloads tab.
NON-SCHOOL QUALIFICATIONS IN AUSTRALIA

In 2011, one half (49.9%) of Australians aged 20 to 64 years stated that their highest non-school qualification was a certificate III or above. The most common level of highest qualification in Australia was certificates III and IV (17.4%), followed by bachelor degrees (16.6%).


LEVEL OF HIGHEST NON-SCHOOL QUALIFICATION, 20-64 year olds, Australia, 2011

Persons
%

Postgraduate degree
578 492
4.5
Graduate diploma & graduate certificate
272 966
2.1
Bachelor degree
2 154 562
16.6
Advanced diploma & diploma
1 205 975
9.3
Certificate III & IV
2 247 554
17.4
Total Certificate III & IV or above
6 459 549
49.9
Total persons
12 945 614
100.0

Source: ABS Census of Population and Housing, 2011


Rates of educational attainment in Australia have varied over time, and that people today have greater rates of educational attainment than in the past. In 2011, larger proportions of younger people had a non-school qualification, while the proportion was smaller among those aged between 60 and 64 years. (Those without non-school qualifications includes people who were currently studying for their first qualification at the time of the Census).


NON-SCHOOL QUALIFICATIONS, by age group, Australia, 2011
Chart: Non-school Qualifications, by age group, Australia, 2011
(a) Includes 'postgraduate degree', 'graduate diploma and graduate certificate', 'bachelor degree', 'advanced diploma & diploma' and 'certificate III & IV'.
(b) Includes 'certificate I & II' and 'not applicable'.
(c) Includes 'level of education inadequately described', 'level of education not stated' and 'certificate level not further defined'.
Source: ABS Census of Population and Housing, 2011


It is important to take age into consideration when interpreting rates of educational attainment as some regions have older populations than others. Greater capital cities have larger proportions of younger people than the rest of the states and territories. Comparing the age profiles of all the greater capital cities combined with those of the rest of the states and territories clearly illustrates this. Given the association between age and educational attainment, this indicates that regions in greater capital cities are likely to have higher rates of educational attainment than those in the rest of states and territories.


POPULATION BY AGE, Greater Capital City Statistical Areas (GCCSAs) and Rest of States/Territories, Australia, 2011
Chart: Population by age, Greater Capital City Statistical Areas and Rest of States/Territories, 2011
Source: ABS Census of Population and Housing, 2011
NON-SCHOOL QUALIFICATIONS IN REGIONS

In 2011, the regions with the highest rates of attainment of non-school qualifications were all in or near greater capital cities. Sydney - North Sydney and Hornsby (69.3%) had the highest proportion of people with qualifications, followed by Melbourne - Inner East and Perth - Inner (both 64.6%). Of the people with non-school qualifications in these three regions, about one half had a bachelor degree as their highest qualification.

Conversely, the regions with the lowest rates of attainment of non-school qualifications tended to be in rural and remote areas. Of these, Northern Territory - Outback (33.8%) had the lowest rate of attainment of non-school qualifications, followed by Queensland - Outback (34.8%) - both of which contain some of the most remote areas in Australia. The third lowest rate, Sydney - South West (36.7%), was an exception to the general regional pattern of higher rates of attainment in greater capital city areas. A smaller proportion of people aged 20 to 64 years were employed in Sydney - South West (61.2%) compared with Australia as a whole (70.8%). Those with a non-school qualification in Sydney - South West were more likely to be employed (79.4%) than those without non-school qualifications (54.3%).

See the state and territory maps for further details on the location of regions mentioned.


POPULATION WITH NON-SCHOOL QUALIFICATIONS, 20-64 yr olds, Australia, 2011
MAP: Population with non-school qualifications, 20-64 yr olds, Australia, 2011

LEVEL OF QUALIFICATION

In 2011, there were also clear regional patterns in the attainment rates of higher education (bachelor degrees and above) and vocational qualifications (advanced diplomas, diplomas and certificates III and IV).

In the greater capital cities combined, there was little difference between the proportions of people with higher education and vocational qualifications (27.3% and 25.1% respectively). In contrast, people living in the rest of the states and territories were twice as likely to have vocational qualifications (30.0%) than higher education qualifications (14.8%) as their highest qualification.

In 2011, the regions with the highest proportions of higher education qualifications were in the greater capital cities of Sydney, Perth, Melbourne and Brisbane. The highest were Sydney - North Sydney & Hornsby (50.6%), Perth - Inner (47.0%) and Melbourne - Inner (46.5%). In all of the listed regions, the most common level of qualification was a bachelor degree. Outside of the greater capital cities, Geelong, in western Victoria, had the highest proportion of higher education qualifications (20.8%).


REGIONS WITH THE LARGEST PROPORTION OF HIGHER EDUCATION(a) QUALIFICATIONS, 20-64 year olds, Australia, 2011

SA4 nameState
%

Sydney - North Sydney & HornsbyNSW
50.6
Perth - InnerWA
47.0
Melbourne - InnerVic.
46.5
Melbourne - Inner EastVic.
45.7
Sydney - Eastern SuburbsNSW
44.0
Sydney - RydeNSW
43.9
Brisbane Inner CityQld
43.9
Brisbane WestQld
42.9
Sydney - Inner WestNSW
41.6
Sydney - City & Inner SouthNSW
40.9

(a) Includes 'postgraduate degrees', 'graduate diplomas', 'graduate certificates' and 'bachelor degrees'.
Source: ABS Census of Population and Housing, 2011


The highest rates of attainment of vocational qualifications among 20-64 year olds were in the Hunter Valley exc Newcastle (33.7%), Sydney - Sutherland (33.1%), and Southern Highlands & Shoalhaven (33.1%), all in or near the greater capital city of Sydney. Three of the ten regions with the highest proportions of vocational qualifications were in a greater capital city; Sydney - Sutherland (in southern Sydney), Central Coast (in Northern Sydney), and Mornington Peninsula (in Melbourne's southern outskirts). The most common highest level of qualification in all of these regions were certificates III or IV.


REGIONS WITH THE LARGEST PROPORTION OF VOCATIONAL(a) QUALIFICATIONS, 20-64 year olds, Australia, 2011

SA4 nameState
%

Hunter Valley exc NewcastleNSW
33.7
Sydney - SutherlandNSW
33.1
Southern Highlands & ShoalhavenNSW
33.1
Sunshine CoastQld
33.0
Central CoastNSW
32.7
HumeVic.
32.6
Mid North CoastNSW
32.3
BunburyWA
32.3
Latrobe - GippslandVic.
32.2
Mornington PeninsulaVic.
32.1

(a) Includes 'advanced diplomas', 'diplomas' and 'certificates III and IV'.
Source: ABS Census of Population and Housing, 2011
FIELD OF QUALIFICATION

Many regions have identified shortages in particular types of professions including tradespeople, engineers, health professionals and teachers (Research Paper: A Review of Regional Development Australia Committee Regional Plans, 2013 (cat. no. 1381.0)).

This section looks at the fields in which people held their highest non-school qualification in regions across Australia in 2011. Analysing the field of qualification gives an indication of the skills available to employers in different industries. Many regions have identified skill shortages in particular types of professions including tradespeople, engineers, health professionals and teachers (Research Paper: A Review of Regional Development Australia Committee Regional Plans, 2013 (cat. no. 1381.0)). In addition to the supply of skills to the labour market, skills shortages also reflect the demand from employers for people with particular skills or qualifications.

In 2011, the most common field of highest non-school qualification among those aged 20 to 64 years was management and commerce (10.1%), followed by engineering and related technologies (9.0%).


FIELD OF HIGHEST NON-SCHOOL QUALIFICATION, 20-64 year olds, Australia, 2011

Persons
%

Natural and physical sciences
234 640
1.8
Information technology
238 942
1.8
Engineering and related technologies
1 163 942
9.0
Architecture and building
440 992
3.4
Agriculture, environmental and related studies
150 259
1.2
Health
679 403
5.2
Education
577 554
4.5
Management and commerce
1 313 613
10.1
Society and culture
808 935
6.2
Creative arts
272 528
2.1
Food, hospitality and personal services
391 428
3.0
Mixed Field Programmes
1 710
0.0
Total with non-school qualification (a)
6 459 545
49.9
Total persons
12 945 614
100.0

(a) Includes 'field of study inadequately described' and 'field of study not stated'.
Source: ABS Census of Population and Housing, 2011


In 2011, of those people whose highest qualification was in management and commerce, most held either a bachelor degree (28.4%) or advanced diploma or diploma (23.7%). The majority of people whose highest qualification was in engineering and related technologies held a certificate III or IV (65.5%).


LEVEL OF HIGHEST NON-SCHOOL QUALIFICATION, Selected fields, 20-64 year olds, Australia, 2011
Chart: Level of highest non-school qualification, Selected fields, 20-64 year olds, Australia, 2011
Source: ABS Census of Population and Housing, 2011
Management and Commerce

Management and commerce includes qualifications in a wide array of professions, including those in accounting, business and management, sales and marketing, banking and finance.

In 2011, non-school qualifications in management and commerce were more common in the greater capital city regions than in other regions of Australia - regions generally associated with higher levels of employment in business and finance. Overall, the qualifications held by 20-64 year olds in this field were fairly evenly divided between higher education (51.2%) and vocational (48.8%) qualifications.

Of the ten regions with the largest proportion of people with non-school qualifications in management and commerce, seven were in Sydney, two were in Melbourne and one was in Brisbane.

Sydney - North Sydney and Hornsby (21.3%), Sydney - Ryde (18.8%) and Melbourne - Inner East (17.6%) had the largest proportions of people with non-school qualifications in this field. Higher education qualifications in accounting and business and management were the most common in these regions.

See the state and territory maps for further details on the location of regions mentioned.


NON-SCHOOL QUALIFICATIONS IN MANAGEMENT AND COMMERCE, 20-64 year olds, Australia, 2011
Map: Non-school qualifications in management and commerce, 20-64 year olds, Australia, 2011

Engineering and Related Technologies

The field of engineering and related technologies encompasses a diverse range of professions and trades, such as panel beating, printing, cabinet-making, vehicle mechanics, construction engineering, civil engineering, surveying and communications technologies, among many others. The vast majority of 20-64 year olds whose highest non-school qualification was in this field had a vocational qualification (80.0%).

The largest proportions of 20-64 year olds with their highest non-school qualification in the field of engineering and related technologies lived in regional and remote areas of Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia and in or near the capital cities of Perth and Sydney. This field of qualification encompasses many skills that are useful for a wide variety of trades and professions. Many of the regions with the highest proportions of these qualifications are also associated with industries such as mining or manufacturing.

Mackay (14.8%) in Queensland, Hunter Valley exc. Newcastle (13.6%) in New South Wales and Western Australia - Outback (13.4%) had the largest proportions of people with a non-school qualification in this field of all regions in Australia. In all three, the most commonly stated qualifications were vocational qualifications in metal fitting, turning and machinery, boilermaking and welding, and vehicle mechanics.


NON-SCHOOL QUALIFICATIONS IN ENGINEERING AND RELATED TECHNOLOGIES, 20-64 year olds, Australia, 2011
Map: Non-school qualifications in engineering and related technologies, 20-64 year olds, Australia, 2011

STATE AND TERRITORY ANALYSIS

New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory
Victoria
Queensland
South Australia
Western Australia
Tasmania
Northern Territory


SUMMARY

The formal educational qualifications available in a region are an important contributor and indicator of the skills available for future service provision and to support future regional development opportunities. This article looked at the non-school qualifications of the the working age population across Australia and Statistical Areas Level 4.

At the time of the 2011 Census of Population and Housing, one-half (49.9%) of Australians aged 20 to 64 years had a non-school qualification. There was wide variation in the rates of attainment of non-school qualifications, with a general pattern of higher rates of attainment in or near capital cities, and lower attainment rates in remote and rural areas. Attainment rates across all regions of Australia ranged from 33.8% in Northern Territory - Outback to 69.3% in Sydney - North Sydney and Hornsby.

Management and commerce and engineering and related technologies and were the two most common fields in which people across all regions held their highest qualification. Most people with non-school qualifications in engineering and related technologies had a vocational qualification, while most people with non-school qualifications in management and commerce had a higher education qualification. The highest proportions of people with a non-school qualification in management and commerce were in or near capital cities, particularly Sydney, Melbourne or Perth. In contrast, those with non-school qualifications in engineering and related technologies were more likely to be in regions outside of greater capital cities.

This article is one of a series of regional perspectives articles looking at different aspects of human capital in regional labour markets. Other articles in the series cover such topics as the industries people in regions work in and self-employment through own unincorporated business ownership in regions.

Articles on education related topics are also released in Australian Social Trends (cat. no. 4102.0). Other articles which use Census data to analyse a range of themes are available in Reflecting a Nation: Stories from the 2011 Census (cat. no. 2071.0).

DATA SOURCES AND DEFINITIONS

Data in this article were drawn from the Census of Population and Housing, conducted in August 2011.

Analysis in this article is based on Statistical Areas Level 4 (SA4) regions. SA4s represent labour markets or groups of labour markets and are defined in the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS). More information on SA4s is available in the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 1 - Main Structure and Greater Capital City Statistical Areas, Australia, July 2011 (cat. no. 1270.0.55.001).

This article uses the Census classification 'Non-School Qualification: Level of Education' (QALLP). This classification describes the level of a person's highest completed non-school qualification. As such, only the highest qualification a person holds is included, and therefore the analysis in this article does not describe the total qualifications held in a population but describes the level of attainment in a population.

This article uses the Census classification 'Non-School Qualification: Field of Study' (QALFP). It describes the field of study of a person's highest completed non-school qualification.

Non-school Qualification:

Non-school qualifications in this article are defined as the following qualification levels: postgraduate degree, graduate diploma and graduate certificate, bachelor degree, advanced diploma and diploma, certificate III and IV.

Certificates level I and II are excluded from the definition of non-school qualifications as these are considered to be below or equivalent to year 12 education level. It is of note that 11.1% of the entire population aged 20-64 years did not state or provide enough information to determine what their highest level of education was. These people may have a non-school qualification but did not adequately indicate this information on their Census form. Among SA4s, these categories represent between 7.2% to 19.6% of the population aged 20-64 years.

Higher education qualifications are defined as postgraduate degrees, graduate diplomas and graduate certificates, bachelor degrees.

Vocational qualifications are defined as advanced diplomas and diplomas, certificates III and IV.
ENDNOTES

1. Council of Australian Governments National Agreement for Skills and Workforce Development, 13 April 2012, viewed 20 June 2013 <http://www.dfeest.sa.gov.au/Portals/1/Documents/policies/COAG%20National%20Agreement%20for%20Skills%20and%20Workforce%20Development.pdf >

2. Regional Australia Standing Council, Communiqué, 5 - 6 July 2012, 2011, Department of Regional Australia, Local Government , Arts and Sport, viewed 19 June 2013, <http://www.regional.gov.au/regional/councils/rasc/communique-5-6-july-2012.aspx >

3. The wellbeing of nations: the role of human and social capital, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development 2001, viewed 20 June 2013 <http://www.oecd.org/site/worldforum/33703702.pdf >

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