4438.0 - Disability, Vocation and Education Training, 2009  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 03/06/2011  First Issue
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There are three main concepts of learning and training in SET 2009, each related to the other:

Types of learning

Learning can occur at any time in a person's life. In SET 2009 it is categorised as formal, non-formal and informal learning:

  • formal learning is structured and leads to recognised qualifications. It is taught in educational institutions or organisations as well as through the workplace (formal learning can take place in school or non-school settings);
  • non-formal learning is also structured and taught in similar institutions, but does not lead to recognised qualifications;
  • informal learning is unstructured and non-institutional. It relates to learning that occurs when a person interacts with their family and community, and as they participate in leisure activities.

Participation in learning and training

A key assertion of the National Disability Strategy (NDS) of Australia is that people with disability 'have opportunities to continue learning throughout their lives'4.

This publication discusses the three forms of learning above in the context of experiences broadly common to certain age groups (15-24 years, 25-44 years and 45-64 years). While it is not possible in SET to determine the age at which a person became disabled, there is a correlation between disability and the onset of age-related conditions. The experiences of a person who has been disabled all their life is often very different to those of someone who becomes disabled later in life.

Table 1 shows the pattern of participation for each age group in the three forms of learning in SET 2009 (in the last 12 months).

Diagram: This is a table showing the proportion of people aged 15-64 years participating in each of the three kinds of learning in the last three months

Educational attainment

The attainment of recognised milestones in learning is an important indicator of the skills and competencies available to a nation at any given time. Over the past decade in countries in the OECD (of which Australia is one), there has been a rise in the proportion of people completing secondary and tertiary education1.

In Australia, education is mandated in some jurisdictions up to the age of 16 years and there is general encouragement for people to study further and to achieve higher levels of educational attainment. It is possible for children with disabilities to remain in school until they are 19 years old. This publication examines the circumstances surrounding young people with disability who leave the system too early to attain educational recognition or who find it difficult to make attainments in higher education.