1136.0 - A Directory of Education and Training Statistics, 2009  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/03/2009   
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National Centre for Education and Training Statistics
Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra
Telephone (02) 6252 5267


The Survey of Education and Work (SEW) provides information on the educational experience of persons aged 15-64 years. Information collected includes participation in education in the previous year and in the survey month, educational attainment (level of highest non-school qualification), transition from education to work and selected characteristics of apprentices.


All persons aged 15-64 years, excluding the following:

  • members of the permanent defence forces
  • certain diplomatic personnel of overseas governments
  • overseas residents in Australia
  • members of non-Australian defence forces (and their dependants)
  • persons permanently unable to work
  • patients in hospitals, residents of homes, and inmates of prisons
  • boarding school students (since 2005).
The survey is conducted in both urban and rural areas in all states and territories, but since 1997 excludes persons living in certain remote and sparsely settled parts of Australia. The exclusion of these persons only has a minor impact on any aggregate estimates that are produced for individual states and territories, with the exception of the Northern Territory.

Reference Period

May each year.
Frequency of Collection


Method of Collection

SEW is a supplementary survey to the monthly Labour Force Survey (LFS). The sample for SEW is restricted to no more than seven-eights of the LFS sample and includes approximately 45,000 persons. Information is collected from a responsible adult on behalf of in-scope household members. Interviews are conducted over the telephone by trained interviewers. For further information see
Labour Force, Australia (ABS cat. no. 6202.0).


Release schedule

Data are collected in May each year and then published in December.


Education and Work, Australia (ABS cat. no. 6227.0)

Technical Manual: Survey of Education and Work, Australia - Confidentialised Unit Record File, May 2007(ABS cat. no. 6227.0.30.002)


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

Data service
A confidentialised unit record file (CURF) is usually produced every 2 years, most frequently for 2007. Survey of Education and Work, Australia - Confidentialised Unit Record File on CD-ROM, May 2007 (ABS cat. no. 6227.0.30.001)

Additional data is freely available as data cubes, see
Education and Work, Australia (ABS cat. no. 6227.0). Customised data are also available on request; this is a charged service.



State or territory of usual residence
Area of usual residence
Region of usual residence
Age group
Indigenous status
Marital status
Relationship in household
Country of birth
Period of arrival in Australia


Level of highest educational attainment
Level of highest non-school qualification
Highest year of school completed
Main field of highest educational attainment
Year completed highest non-school qualification
Number of non-school qualifications obtained

Labour force

Labour force status
Status in employment in current job
Occupation of last job
Industry of last job
Duration of unemployment

Study arrangements in previous year

Whether attended an educational institution
Type of educational institution attended
Type of attendance
Level of education
Main field of education
Status of course of study undertaken

Current study arrangements

Whether attending an educational institution
Type of educational institution attending
Type of attendance (full-time/part-time)
Level of education
Main field of education
Type of school attending (government/non-government)


Level and main field of education of current study leading to a qualification
Persons who were not enrolled in a course of study leading to a qualification in the previous year and are currently enrolled in a course of study in the reference period


Age at time of leaving full-time education
Year last attended an educational institution full-time
Time of leaving full-time education
Main reason left full-time tertiary education
Type of school last attended
Labour force status of leavers

Unmet demand

Whether applied to enrol in an educational institution and type of institution


Commencement of apprenticeship
Industry sector
Field of trade

Historical Data

The survey was first conducted in February 1964. Complete electronic datasets exist for May 1984, and from May 1989 to present. Limited data in printed publications are available from February 1964 to May 1988. Information regarding apprentices was collected for the first time in May 1983.

Since 2001, both Level ('attainment') and field of education have been classified under the Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED). Prior to this, between 1993 and 2000, they were classified under the ABS Classification of Qualifications (ABSCQ).