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FEATURE ARTICLE: WHAT ARE SOUTH AUSTRALIANS STUDYING?
Food, Hospitality and Personal Services was one of the least common fields of study in South Australia from 2001 to 2008. Only 2.2% of all enrolments had this as their main field of study in 2008. Some of the courses in this field qualify students to be hairdressers, bakers and cooks, all of which are occupations which have been assessed as being difficult for employers in South Australia to recruit suitably qualified staff (DEEWR 2009).
The most notable change in enrolment was in the field of Health. In 2001, 8.0% of South Australian students were enrolled in this field. This increased to 14.7% in 2008, making it the field of study with the greatest proportional increase over the seven year period. The health field is an area of known labour shortage in South Australia, with nurses, dentists, physiotherapists and other health occupations recognised as being in demand (DEEWR 2009).
MAIN FIELD OF CURRENT STUDY BY SEX
The increase in the proportion of enrolments in the field of Health was mainly due to more females undertaking this field of study. In 2001, 10.7% of all female enrolments were in the field of Health, and by 2008 this had increased to 21.8%.
Consistently over the seven year period, a greater proportion of males than females were enrolled in Engineering and Related Technologies. In 2001, 22.8% of males and 1.5% of females were enrolled in this field. There was a similar difference in 2008, with 23.0% of males and 0.4% of females enrolled in this field of current study in South Australia.
In South Australia since 2001, there has been a greater proportion of female students enrolled in Society and Culture than males. This field includes courses in social sciences, behavioural science, welfare, language, law and sport. In 2001, 26.5% of females were enrolled in this field of study in comparison to 10.5% of males. In 2008, the proportions were 26.3% and 16.4% respectively.
MAIN FIELD OF CURRENT STUDY BY AGE
15-24 year olds
Of those enrolled in a field of study in 2008, the three most common fields for South Australians aged 15-24 were Society and Culture (18.1%), Management and Commerce (17.4%) and Engineering and Related Technologies (15.8%). Nationally, the most common field for this age group was Management and Commerce (21.1%), followed by Society and Culture (15.4%).
In 2001, 8.4% of South Australian students aged 15-24 were enrolled in the field of Health. This proportion increased to 14.2% in 2008, making Health the only field of study with significant proportionate growth in South Australia for this age group.
25-34 year olds
Management and Commerce was the most common field of study for those aged 25-34 in 2008, with 27.2% of South Australian students in this age group enrolled in this field. Enrolment in Health among this age group has increased in South Australia over the seven year period. In 2001, 4.1% of South Australian students aged 25-34 were enrolled in this field of study. This grew in 2008 to 16.4%, making it the only field of study in South Australia with significant proportionate growth for those aged 25-34.
Nationally, since 2001 there has been a notable increase in enrolments for this age group in Engineering and Related Technologies. Enrolment increased from 7.5% of Australian 25-34 year old students in 2001 to 10.3% in 2008.
35-64 year olds
In 2008, the most common field of study for South Australian students aged 35-64 was Management and Commerce (32.5% of enrolments), closely followed by Society and Culture (28.6%).
LIST OF REFERENCES
ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) 2001, Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED), 2001, (cat. no. 1272.0), ABS, Canberra
ABS 2008, Australian Social Trends, 2008, (cat. no. 4102.0), ABS, Canberra
ABS, Education and Work, Australia (cat. no. 6227.0), ABS, Canberra, data available on request
DEEWR (Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations) 2009, State and Territory Skill Shortage List South Australia, viewed 17 July 2009.
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