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ATTAINMENT OF A NON-SCHOOL QUALIFICATION
In 2012, similar proportions of women and men aged 25-29 years (66% and 65% respectively) attained a formal qualification at the Certificate level III or above. In contrast, the proportion of women aged 25-29 years who had attained a Bachelor Degree or above (39%) was higher than that for men (32%).
The 25-29 year age group was selected as people younger than this are likely to either not have commenced or still be completing a qualification.
Education contributes to economic growth and improves individual wellbeing. Higher levels of educational attainment are associated with increased employment opportunities and higher wage rates. (Endnote 1) Attainment of a non-school qualification (vocational or higher education qualification) also has a number of benefits. It allows individuals to engage with society, and may lead to fulfilling and rewarding careers. (Endnote 2)
ATTAINMENT OF A FORMAL QUALIFICATION AT CERTIFICATE III OR ABOVE
The formal qualification at Certificate III or above includes attainment of a Certificate III, Certificate IV, Diploma, an Advanced Diploma, Bachelor Degree, Graduate Diploma, Graduate Certificate, or Postgraduate Degree. Between 2003 to 2012, the proportion of females aged 25-29 years attaining such a qualification rose 16 percentage points compared to a rise of 12 percentage points for males. However, the difference between the men and women over this time period has remained similar.
For the 30-34 year age group the proportion of women who attained a formal qualification at Certificate III or above was 69% in 2012, up from 45% in 2003, while for men the proportion rose from 56% in 2003 to 68% in 2012.
In 2012, 60% of men and 58% of women aged 15-64 years held a non-school qualification. The proportion of men aged 15-64 years with a non-school qualification rose from 53% in 2003, reflecting an increase in the proportion of men with a Bachelor Degree or above. For women in this age group, the proportion with a non-school qualification rose from 46% in 2003, with the largest increases (around 5 percentage points) in those with Certificate III or IV, or with a Bachelor Degree.
In 2012, the most common main field of highest non-school qualification for women was Management and commerce (29%), followed by Society and culture (19%), Health (15%), and Education (10%). For men the most common main field was Engineering and related technologies (29%), followed by Management and commerce (20%), Architecture and building (11%), and Society and culture (9%).
ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER PEOPLES
Education has been a major focus in the strategy to ‘close the gap’ between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and non-Indigenous Australians. (Endnote 3)
In 2008, about a third of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women aged 15-64 years had attained a non-school qualification, up from 27% in 2002. For those aged 25-29 years, 26% of men and 23% of women had attained a Certificate III or above in 2008.
By 2008 the proportions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women with a Certificate III or IV qualification had risen by six percentage points, compared to 2002.
1. Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2008, Australian Social Trends, 2008 (cat. no. 4102.0) <www.abs.gov.au>.
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