1136.0 - Directory of Education and Training Statistics, 2007  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 06/07/2007   
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Contents >> Statistical Collections >> Education and Training - General >> Survey of Education and Training

Survey of Education and Training


National Centre for Education and Training Statistics
Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra
Telephone (02) 6252 7960


The Survey of Education and Training (SET) is a 4-yearly survey providing a comprehensive picture of participation, outcomes and access, to education and training. Despite some variation in the content of the SET over successive surveys, essentially there are 6 areas which comprise the core content of the survey. These are:

  • participation in education - current and previous study
  • educational attainment - highest year of school completed and level and field of up to four non-school qualifications (most recent and three highest)
  • work-related training - with information on completion of up to four training courses
  • access to education and training - unmet demand and barriers to study and work-related training
  • general and labour force information - including demographics, current employment details, employment history (last 12 months), Indigenous, migrant and disability status, and the characteristics of education or training providers


The scope of the 2005 SET was persons aged 15 years and over, who were usual residents of private dwellings. The following groups were excluded:
  • persons living in very remote parts of Australia
  • certain diplomatic personnel of overseas governments
  • persons whose usual place of residence was outside Australia
  • persons living in 'special dwellings' – hotels, motels, hospitals etc
  • members of non-Australian defence forces, and
  • visitors to private dwellings.

The survey was conducted in both urban and rural areas in all states and territories, but excludes persons living in certain remote and sparsely settled parts of Australia.

Reference Period

The survey was conducted between May and August 2005.

Frequency of Collection

Every four years.

Method of Collection

The initial sample size for the survey was approximately 18,500 dwellings, from which approximately 16,000 households were selected and 13,900 (87%) were fully responding. In total, about 27,600 people responded fully, by personal interview to the survey. People aged 70+ years were only given a subset of the SET questionnaire.


Release schedule

Results for the 2005 Survey of Education and Training were released in May 2006.


Education and Training Experience, Australia, 2005 (ABS cat. no. 6278.0)


Data are available for Australia, each state and territory, capital city/balance of state (excluding Territories), and for the standard Labour Force Survey dissemination regions within each State.

Data service

Confidentialised unit record files are available for surveys conducted in 2005, 2001, 1997, 1993 and 1989. A set of publication tables for State, Territory and Australia can be downloaded free of charge from the ABS website. A specialised data service is also available (as a charged service).



Demographics (age, sex, marital status etc)
Indigenous status
Relationship in household
Children (age and number)
Ethnicity (country of birth, year of arrival, language)
Disability status
Computer access at home
SEIFA Indices

Labour Force

Current labour force status
Employment (status, full-time/part-time, occupation, industry, sector, weekly earnings etc)
Unemployment (duration, whether looking for work, steps taken etc)
Work history
Whether provides vocational education or training

Educational Attainment

Level of highest educational attainment
Main field of highest educational attainment
Age and year left school
Highest year of school completed
Main reason did not complete year 12

School Attendance

2005 and 2004 school attendance
2005 school study
Whether undertook TAFE subjects as part of secondary school
Reasons does not intend to complete secondary school
Factors affecting intention to complete secondary school
Whether received any study related government payments

Most Recent, Highest, Second and Third Highest Non-School Qualification Completed

Level and main field of qualification
Institution or organisation from which qualification obtained
Whether obtained in Australia
Year completed

Educational Participation

Level and main field of education of 2005 study

Non-School Study (2005, 2004 and continuing study)

Number of qualifications enrolled in
Level and main field of study
Whether in preferred field of study
Institution or organisation enrolled in
Whether in preferred institution or organisation
Purpose of study
Number of contact hours

Study not leading to a Qualification (2005, 2004)
Number of courses not leading to a qualification enrolled
Main field of study not leading to a qualification
Institution or organisation at which enrolled for study not leading to a qualification
All reasons for current year study not leading to a qualification
Main reason for current year study not leading to a qualification

Access to Education

Whether wanted to study in the last 12 months
Reasons did not study
Reasons did not want to study

Unmet Demand

Whether applied to enrol in 2001
Reason for unsuccessful application
Whether preferred field or institution

Work-related Training in the last 12 months

Training undertaken
On-the-job training activities (all training and main training)
Whether completed or still attending training course
Whether did both internal and external training courses
Number of training courses completed (details for 4 most recent courses)
Number of training courses completed while working (and as a wage or salary earner)
Number of internal training courses completed
Number of external training courses completed (completed while working/not working, supported/not supported by employer)
Number of training courses completed that incurred known costs

Most Recent Training Course (and up to 3 other courses)

Whether completed while working
Time spent
Participant costs
Provider type
Financial support
Whether held in work time
Whether for re-training, pay rise or promotion
Whether skills transferable
Whether improved job performance
Whether to obtain a job
Methods of course delivery
Occupation, industry, sector, size, full-time/part-time, leave entitlements at time of course
Some summary items are also available including total time spent on training and costs incurred

Access to Training Courses in the last 12 months

Whether wanted to do (more) training
Reasons did not do (more) training
Reason did not want to do (more) training
Participation in education and training
Whether wanted to study or train (more)

Personal gross weekly income
Household gross weekly income
Equivalised household gross weekly income

Historical Data

Previous surveys of education and training were conducted in 2001, 1997, 1993 and 1989. In 2005, Computer Assisted Interviewing (CAI) methodology was introduced and the scope of the survey was increased to include all persons aged 15 years and over.

The 2001 survey included all persons aged 15 to 64 years, while the 1997 survey included people aged 15 to 64 who:
  • had worked as wage or salary earners in the previous 12 months
  • were employed, unemployed or marginally attached to the labour force
  • were aged 15 to 20 years and still at secondary school, and
  • were not in the labour force but were studying, or had studied in 1997.

The scope of the 1993 survey excluded persons aged 15 to 20 who were still at school and persons working as unpaid family helpers or solely for payment in kind. Included were people aged 15 to 64 who:
  • had worked as wage or salary earners in the last 12 months
  • at the time of the survey were employers, self-employed, unemployed or marginally attached to the labour force.

In 2001, the ABS Classification of Qualifications (ABSCQ) was replaced by the Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED). The ASCED is the current national standard classification which can be applied to all sectors of the Australian education system including schools, vocational education and training, and higher education. The ASCED comprises two classifications: Level of Education and Field of Education.

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