6278.0 - Education and Training Experience, 2009 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 30/03/2010   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All



For information on the institutional environment of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), including the legislative obligations of the ABS, financing and governance arrangements, and mechanisms for scrutiny of ABS operations, please see ABS Institutional Environment.


The 2009 Survey of Education and Training (SET) provides a range of key indicators on educational participation, attainment and learning for all persons aged 15-64 years and persons aged 65 to 74 years who were in or marginally attached to the labour force. Detailed information on the following topics was collected:

  • General demographic information
  • Parental information
  • educational attainment
  • employment status
  • occupation
  • Employment characteristics
  • labour force status
  • occupation
  • industry
  • sector of employment
  • duration of employment or unemployment
  • hours worked
  • trade union membership
  • Participation in education
  • school
  • current study
  • educational attainment
  • formal learning in the last 12 months
  • Education and employment outcomes
  • first qualification
  • most recent qualification
  • Non-formal learning
  • work related courses
  • types of financial support
  • types of expenses
  • participation in training
  • time spent on training
  • training costs
  • Informal learning
  • Barriers to learning
  • access
  • difficulties
  • Health and disability
  • Personal and household income

    Information from SET will be used by a wide range of public and private sector agencies, in particular the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) and state government departments with responsibilities for education and training.


    The most recent Survey of Education and Training was conducted throughout Australia from March to June 2009. The ABS has been conducting similar surveys on a four yearly basis since 1989. Data from the 2009 SET were released in Education and Training Experience, Australia, 2009 (cat. no. 6278.0), approximately nine months after the completion of enumeration. Further results from the survey, including State and Territory data cubes, will be released on the ABS website in April 2010. A Basic and Expanded Confidentialised Unit Record File (CURF) will be released in May 2010 for individuals who wish to undertake more detailed analysis of the survey data.


    The 2009 SET was designed to provide reliable estimates at the national level and for each state and territory.

    Dwellings in each state and territory were selected at random using a multi-stage area sample of private dwellings. The initial sample for the 2009 SET consisted of approximately 16,400 private dwellings. Of the approximately 13,200 households that remained in the survey after sample loss, approximately 11,800 (89%) were fully responding. As well as persons from fully responding households, SET included 452 fully responding persons from 292 partially responding households.

    As the 2009 SET is a sample survey two types of error are possible: non-sampling error and sampling error.

    Non-sampling error arises from inaccuracies in collecting, recording and processing the survey data. Every effort is made to minimise reporting error by the careful design of questionnaires, intensive training and supervision of interviewers, and efficient data processing procedures. One of the main sources of non-sampling error is non-response by persons selected in the survey. Non-response can affect the reliability of results and can introduce bias. The magnitude of any bias depends upon the level of non-response and the extent of the difference between the characteristics of those people who responded to the survey and those who did not.

    Sampling error occurs because a sample, rather than the entire population is surveyed. One measure of the likely difference resulting from not including all dwellings in the survey is given by the standard error. There are about two chances in three that a sample estimate will differ by less than one standard error from the figure that would have been obtained if all dwellings had been included in the survey and about nineteen chances in twenty that the difference will be less than two standard errors.


    Results from the five previous household surveys on this topic were published in Education and Training Experience, Australia, 2005 (cat. no. 6278.0), Education and Training Experience, Australia, 2001 (cat. no. 6278.0), Education and Training Experience, Australia, 1997 (cat. no. 6278.0), Training and Education Experience, Australia, 1993 (cat. no. 6278.0) and How Workers Get their Training 1989 (cat. no. 6278.0).

    Essentially the same methodology has been used since 1993 however the scope of the surveys has differed.

    A major review of SET, involving consultation with key stakeholders, was undertaken during 2007. The content of the 2009 SET therefore differed somewhat from the 2005 collection reflecting changes that have occurred in the education and training sector in recent years and increased demand for internationally comparable data.

    The Explanatory Notes section of Education and Training Experience, Australia, 2009 (cat. no. 6278.0) provides more detailed information on the differences between the ABS education and training surveys over time as well as a summary comparison of key SET variables with other ABS data sources.


    The summary publication, Education and Training Experience, Australia, 2009 (cat. no. 6278.0), contains a collection of tables with footnoted data to aid with the interpretation of the survey results. The Summary of Findings comprises analytical text and graphics to support interpretation of the publication tables. Explanatory Notes, a Technical Note, and a Glossary provide additional information on the data, terminology, classifications and other associated technical aspects.


    An electronic version of the tables contained in Education and Training Experience, Australia, 2009 (cat. no. 6278.0) is available on the ABS website, in spreadsheet format. The spreadsheet presents relative standard errors (RSEs) relating to estimates and/or proportions for each publication table. A set of tables in a spreadsheet format equivalent to those in this publication will also be produced for each state and territory (subject to standard error constraints and excluding time series tables). These tables will be available from the ABS web site <www.abs.gov.au> as Datacubes (Education and Training Experience, State and Territory tables, Australia (cat. no. 6278.0.55.005)) in April 2010.

    For users who wish to undertake more detailed analysis, microdata from the 2009 SET will be available in May 2010. The microdata will be released in the form of two confidentialised unit record files (CURFs), the basic CURF (Survey of Education and Training: Basic CURF, Australia (cat. no. 6278.0.55.002)) and the expanded CURF (Survey of Education and Training: Expanded CURF, Australia (cat. no. 6278.0.55.004)). The expanded CURF will contain more detail than the basic CURF and will only be available via the Remote Access Data Laboratory (RADL), which is a secure Internet-based data query service. The basic CURF will be available via CD ROM or RADL.

    Technical information describing the content and use of the basic and expanded SET CURFs will be available in the Technical Manual: Survey of Education and Training, CURF, Australia (cat. no. 6278.0.55.001). Up-to-date information on the ABS RADL service, including information on pricing, 'Applications & Undertakings', and a training manual outlining obligations and responsibilities when accessing ABS microdata, is available on the ABS website via the following link; Remote Access Data Laboratory (RADL). Those wishing to access the 2009 SET microdata should contact the ABS using MiCRO, the ABS online CURF registration system.

    Special tabulations of SET data are available on request and for a fee. Subject to confidentiality and sampling variability constraints, tabulations can be produced from the survey incorporating data items, populations and geographic areas selected to meet individual requirements. These can be provided in printed or electronic form. Please contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070 or client.services@abs.gov.au for further information about these or related statistics.