In May 2014 it was estimated that, of the 15.5 million people aged 15–64 years in Australia, 2.9 million, or 19%, were enrolled in formal study. Of these, 1.2 million people were aged 15 to 19 years, and 689,200 people were aged 20 to 24 years.
Of people aged 15 to 19 years 82% were engaged in formal study. The proportion of people engaged in formal study then declined with age: 42% of persons aged 20 to 24 years were engaged in formal study, declining to 16% of persons aged 25 to 34 years, 8.7% aged 35 to 44 years, 5.2% aged 45 to 54 years and 2.5% of those aged 55 to 64 years.
Females were more likely than males to be engaged in formal study, with 20% of females currently studying towards a qualification compared with 18% of males.
Australian or New Zealand citizens (18%) were less likely to be in formal study than those who were not Australian or New Zealand citizens (24%). This reflects a large proportion of those who were not Australian or New Zealand citizens being on temporary student visas of whom 45% were in formal study. (Table 1)
Of those engaged in formal study, approximately 1.2 million (40%) were attending a higher education institution, 851,100 (29%) were at school, 508,200 (17%) were at Technical and Further Education (TAFE) institutions and 389,300 (13%) were at other educational institutions. (Table 2)
More than one third (39%) of people aged 15–64 years who were enrolled in a non-school qualification were studying for a Bachelor Degree. A higher proportion of enrolled females (42%) than males (36%) were studying Bachelor Degrees, while males were more likely than females to be enrolled in Certificates III and IV (27% compared with 21%). (Table 5)
As in previous years, the most commonly reported main field of study for people aged 15–64 years enrolled in a non-school qualification was Management and commerce (24%). People studying Information technology decreased from 8.5% in 2001 to 3.3% in 2014, while the proportion of people studying Health increased from 8.7% to 13% over the same period. (Table 6)
A larger proportion of females than males were studying in the fields of Society and culture (26% and 13% respectively) and Health (18% and 6.5% respectively), while one-fifth (21%) of males were studying Engineering and related technologies, compared with 1.6% of females. (Table 6)