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4102.0 - Australian Social Trends, 1996  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/06/1996   
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Contents >> Education >> Education and Work: From school to work

Education and Work: From School to Work

In 1995, there were 269,000 school leavers of whom three-quarters were in the labour force.

Leaving school is a major change in the lives of young people. The choices they make at this time affect their future working lives. Recent government policies such as Working Nation1 have focused on employment and training opportunities for young people. However, the government has also sought to provide opportunities for young people to continue their education with tertiary studies.

Many young people go directly from school to the full-time labour force. However, they may also choose to combine work and further education or to go on to further education before entering the full-time labour force for the first time.


School leavers and retention rates

School leavers in this review refers to people aged 15-19 who were full-time school students at any time in the previous calendar year but were not full-time school students by May of the following year.

Year 12 apparent retention rates represent the percentage of full-time students of a given cohort group who continue from the first year of secondary schooling to Year 12.


Completing secondary education
Increasingly school students have been completing the highest level of secondary education. The Year 12 apparent retention rate has increased from 46% in 1985 to 72% in 1995 (see Education - National summary tables). The rate increased more for girls than for boys over this period. This increase in the proportion of students completing Year 12 is due partly to government initiatives to improve the relevance of schooling.

The higher level of secondary education completed by many school students has also caused changes in the paths chosen by those leaving school. Those who complete Year 12 are more likely than those who do not to go on to further education.

The proportion of school leavers in the labour force decreased from 81% in 1985 to 75% in 1995. The patterns of employment and unemployment also changed considerably over the period. In 1985, 50% of school leavers went straight into full-time employment compared to 28% in 1995. In contrast, the proportions in part-time employment increased from 15% to 27%. In addition the proportion of people unemployed increased from 16% to 20%. Most of the change occurred between 1990 and 1991 when the youth unemployment rate and the Year 12 apparent retention rate both rose sharply (see Work - National summary tables and Education - National summary tables). Increased participation in part-time work is also related to increased participation in full-time further education. The proportion of school leavers continuing their full-time education but not working or looking for work also increased over the period from 16% to 20%.

EMPLOYMENT OF SCHOOL LEAVERS


Source: Survey of Transition from Education to Work (unpublished data)


School leavers not undertaking further education
In 1995, almost half (133,000) of school leavers were not undertaking further education. Most of them (118,000 or 89%) were in the labour force. However, their unemployment rate was high (33%) compared to the rate for all people aged 15-19 (21% in May 1995). This high rate of unemployment among school leavers not undertaking further education reflects their shorter time in the labour force (see Australian Social Trends 1995, Youth unemployment). Just over two-thirds of employed school leavers who were not undertaking further education were employed full-time.

LABOUR FORCE STATUS AND FURTHER EDUCATION OF SCHOOL LEAVERS, 1995

Not in education
In full-time education
In part-time education
Total
Labour force status
'000
'000
'000
'000

In the labour force
118.5
58.2
24.6
201.2
    Employed
79.0
44.9
23.1
147.0
      Full-time
54.4
* *
19.0
74.2
      Part-time
24.5
44.1
4.1*
72.8
    Unemployed
39.5
13.3
* *
54.2
Not in the labour force
14.5
53.3
* *
68.1
All school leavers
133.0
111.5
24.9
269.4

Source: Survey of Transition from Education to Work (unpublished data)


Combining work and further education
In 1995, there were 111,000 school leavers furthering their education on a full-time basis and 24,900 on a part-time basis. Many school leavers choose to combine work with further education. Almost all those studying part-time were also employed, and generally employed full-time. In contrast those studying full-time who were employed were generally employed part-time.

Of the 68,000 employed school leavers furthering their education, most (38,500) were attending TAFE and almost all of the remainder were in higher education. These two groups combined work and study in quite different ways. Employed TAFE students were more likely to be working full-time and studying part-time (48%) than working part-time and studying full-time (43%). In contrast the majority (96%) of employed higher education students studied full-time and worked part-time.

Most (68%) employed male school leavers who were furthering their education were studying at TAFE. In contrast most (56%) female employed school leavers who were furthering their education were studying in higher education. Most men studying at TAFE (63%) combined full-time work with part-time study. However, most women studying at TAFE (71%) combined part-time work with full-time study.

In 1995, there were 20,200 school leavers undertaking apprenticeships, a decrease of 13,900 since 1985. In 1995, 91% of apprentices were men compared to 84% in 1985.

EMPLOYED SCHOOL LEAVERS IN FURTHER EDUCATION, 1995

Higher education
TAFE
Total(a)
Work and study arrangements
%
%
%

Employed full-time, studying part-time
* *
47.7
27.9
Employed part-time, studying full-time
95.9
43.4
64.9
Other
* *
8.9*
7.2*
Total
100.0
100.0
100.0
'000
'000
'000
Total
28.3
38.5
68.0

(a) Includes business colleges, industry skills centres and other educational institutions.

Source: Survey of Transition from Education to Work (unpublished data)


Occupations of school leavers
In 1995, the most common occupations among employed school leavers were salespersons and personal service workers followed by labourers and related workers. However, the occupations of school leavers varied by employment status and between men and women.

In 1995, of those employed full-time the most common occupations were tradespersons followed by salespersons and personal service workers, and labourers and related workers. Of those employed part-time the most common occupations were salespersons and personal service workers followed by labourers and related workers. 68% of part-time employed salespersons and personal service workers were students.

For men employed full-time the most common occupations were tradespersons (42%) followed by labourers and related workers (31%). For women the most common occupations were salespersons and personal service workers (47%) followed by clerks (29%). The most common occupations of men and women also varied for the part-time employed. Men were more likely to be labourers and related workers (46%) followed by salespersons and personal service workers (43%) whereas women were most likely to be employed as salespersons and personal service workers (75%).

SCHOOL LEAVERS BY OCCUPATION, 1995

Employed full-time
Employed part-time
Total
Occupation
%
%
%

Managers and administrators, professionals, and para-professionals
4.8*
3.5*
4.2*
Tradespersons
28.9
* *
15.0
Clerks
13.5
4.1*
8.8
Salespersons and personal service workers
25.7
61.0
43.2
Plant and machine operators and drivers
3.5*
* *
2.7*
Labourers and related workers
23.6
28.8
26.2
Total employed
100.0
100.0
100.0
'000
'000
'000
Total employed
74.2
72.8
147.0

Source: Survey of Transition from Education to Work (unpublished data)


Endnotes
1 Commonwealth Government (1994) Working Nation: policies and programs AGPS, Canberra.

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