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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2008  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 07/02/2008   
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Contents >> Education and training >> Educational attainment

EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENT

Formal educational qualifications are the desired outcome of most study at educational institutions. When issued by an accredited authority they denote a particular level of knowledge, skills and competencies. This assists the graduates themselves when entering the labour market, employers in selecting appropriate personnel, and clients in assessing the quality of professional services. The classification of educational attainment to level assists in measuring the stocks of available skills in a community, enabling policy makers to monitor the volume of skill levels compared with skills demand, and to influence the direction of future educational focus.

In May 2006, of the 13.4 million people aged 15-64 years, 7 million (52%) held at least one non-school qualification. These comprised 2.8 million whose highest non-school qualification was a Bachelor degree or above. A further 1.1 million reported an Advanced diploma or Diploma, 2.1 million reported a Certificate III or IV and 0.8 million reported a Certificate I or II as their highest qualification. Around half the population of 15-64 year olds (51%) had completed Year 12, and two-thirds (66%) of those with Year 12 held a non-school qualification. Among those without a non-school qualification, 36% had completed Year 12, 13% had completed Year 11 and a further 31% had completed Year 10 as their highest year of schooling (table 12.28).

12.28 LEVEL OF HIGHEST NON-SCHOOL QUALIFICATION,
By highest year of school completed
(a) - May 2006

Highest year of school completed
Year 12
Year 11
Year 10
Year 9 or below
Total(b)
Level of education
'000
'000
'000
'000
'000

Postgraduate degree
413.2
*5.4
8.7
1.5
428.8
Graduate diploma/Graduate certificate
279.2
15.1
19.5
2.2
316.0
Bachelor degree
1 879.8
52.0
64.2
12.3
2 008.3
Advanced diploma/Diploma
783.0
101.1
167.3
24.0
1 075.7
Certificate III/IV
680.8
336.0
840.7
198.6
2 056.5
Certificate I/II
286.1
114.6
287.7
73.9
762.3
Certificate not further defined
109.7
32.9
68.6
18.8
230.0
Level not determined
72.1
13.1
46.6
9.9
141.9
Total with non-school qualification
4 504.0
670.2
1 503.3
341.2
7 019.5
Total without non-school qualification
2 324.7
857.5
1 944.5
1 230.7
6 375.1
Total
6 828.7
1 527.7
3 447.8
1 571.9
13 394.7

* estimate has a relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution
(a) Persons aged 15-64 years.
(b) Includes persons who never attended school.
Source: ABS data available on request, 2006 Survey of Education and Work.


Graph 12.29 shows the proportion of males and females aged 15-64 years and the level of their highest non-school qualification in 1996, 2001, and 2006. During this period the proportion of people aged 15-64 years with a Bachelor degree or above increased by 6.3 percentage points for males and by 9.1 percentage points for females. In 1996 some 13% of both males and females held a Bachelor degree or above. By 2001, these proportions had increased to 16% and 18% respectively. The proportions of males and females with a Bachelor degree or above continued to increase, reaching 19% for males and 22% for females at May 2006. Conversely, the proportion of males and females without non-school qualifications fell markedly over this period, by 7.4 and 13 percentage points, respectively.

12.29 Level of highest non-school qualification(a)
Graph: 12.29 Level of highest non-school qualification(a)


Overall, people 25 years and over are more qualified than those under 25 years, as many young adults are still involved in study and are yet to obtain a non-school qualification. Some 52% of 15-19 year olds were still attending school in 2006 and 37% of 20-24 year olds were attending a tertiary education institution. Tables 12.30 and 12.31 show the level and field of the highest non-school qualification held by people aged 15-64 years in May 2006. Some 59% of all 25-64 year olds held a non-school qualification. This compares with 26% of 15-24 year olds and the most qualified age group of 25-34 years, of which 65% held a non-school qualification.

In 2006, 29% of people aged 25-34 years had a highest non-school qualification of a Bachelor degree or above, compared with 18% in the 55-64 years age group. There was little difference however for Certificates III or IV held by these age groups (17% for 25-34 year olds compared with 15% for 55-64 year olds).
12.30 LEVEL OF HIGHEST NON-SCHOOL QUALIFICATION, By age - May 2006

Age group (years)
15-24
25-34
35-44
45-54
55-64
Total
Level of education
’000
'000
’000
’000
’000
’000

Postgraduate degree
6.4
105.2
125.2
106.4
85.5
428.8
Graduate diploma/Graduate certificate
8.6
64.3
77.2
105.4
60.4
316.0
Bachelor degree
217.9
641.5
507.1
405.5
236.4
2 008.3
Advanced diploma/Diploma
97.2
267.0
274.8
256.9
179.7
1 075.7
Certificate III/IV
226.4
480.2
541.1
486.7
322.0
2 056.5
Certificate I/II
92.9
136.4
196.0
183.0
154.0
762.3
Certificate not further defined
65.2
71.9
44.9
33.3
14.7
230.0
Level not determined
12.1
28.2
38.2
33.1
30.2
141.9
Total
726.8
1 794.7
1 804.6
1 610.4
1 083.0
7 019.5
Persons without non-school qualifications
2 072.9
983.2
1 138.1
1 123.7
1 057.2
6 375.1
Persons
2 799.7
2 777.9
2 942.7
2 734.1
2 140.2
13 394.7

Source: Education and Work, Australia (6227.0).


The most common main fields of education for the highest non-school qualification held by people aged 15-64 years were Management and commerce (23% of those with qualifications), and Engineering and related technologies (19%). Mature-aged persons (45-64 years) most frequently had qualifications in the fields of Engineering and related technologies (22%), Management and commerce (21%) and Society and culture (13%).

12.31 MAIN FIELD OF HIGHEST NON-SCHOOL QUALIFICATION(a), By age - May 2006

Age group (years)
15-24
25-34
35-44
45-54
55-64
Total
Field of education
’000
’000
’000
’000
’000
’000

Natural and physical sciences
27.5
68.4
58.4
46.9
47.2
248.4
Information technology
41.1
91.6
64.5
38.3
16.1
251.4
Engineering and related technologies
94.7
295.9
370.9
336.0
252.8
1 350.3
Architecture and building
38.5
116.4
104.2
99.8
71.6
430.5
Agriculture, environment and related studies
23.8
52.8
52.4
39.7
25.6
194.3
Health
47.8
155.2
179.5
191.9
112.0
686.4
Education
29.4
99.9
130.9
165.0
107.0
532.3
Management and commerce
196.6
447.7
409.0
352.9
219.3
1 625.4
Society and culture
91.7
217.0
221.9
206.8
142.1
879.5
Creative arts
46.7
93.5
67.6
45.2
28.7
281.6
Food, hospitality and personal services
79.9
126.8
117.1
70.5
45.9
440.3
Other(b)
9.1
29.5
28.2
17.4
15.0
99.2
Total
726.8
1 794.7
1 804.6
1 610.4
1 083.0
7 019.5
Persons without a non-school qualification
2 072.9
983.2
1 138.1
1 123.7
1 057.2
6 375.1

(a) Persons aged 15-64 years.
(b) Includes Field not determined and Mixed field programmes.
Source: Education and Work, Australia (6227.0).


Overall, Certificates III and IV held in the Engineering and related technologies field, accounted for 12% of all highest non-school qualifications held.




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