This is the first time that 2011 Census of Population and Housing data has been integrated with 2006 Vocational Education and Training (VET) in Schools data. This has produced a powerful new dataset that is able to provide insights into the various pathways of students participating in VET in Schools programs and their post-school destinations and outcomes.
To date the key source of information about the pathways and outcomes for students has been measured through longitudinal, destinations and outcomes surveys. The Longitudinal Survey of Australian Youth, for example, measures transitions from schooling into employment or study one to four years post schooling using weighted survey sample data. Other data sources, such as the Survey of Education and Work and state-based school leaver surveys provide transitions information but generally for a limited period of time post-school.
The integrated VET in Schools and Census dataset provides a new opportunity to analyse longitudinal outcomes of VET in Schools students, and assess how those outcomes are moderated by student characteristics and the type of VET that school students undertake. Importantly, the integrated dataset allows reliable conclusions to be drawn about small differences between groups as is not restricted by the small sample sizes often present in surveys. In particular, the integrated data allows analysis on interesting elements, such as field of study and occupation, to be performed for small areas and small populations at a high level of detail. This particular data also allows analysis to occur five years after students are at school which gives students time to settle into post-school life and makes the destinations observed more indicative of true outcomes.
This article demonstrates how integrated data is able to enhance the evidence base for social and educational policy in Australia.
BUILDING CAPABILITY TO MAXIMISE USE OF VOCATIONAL EDUCATION AND TRAINING AND CENSUS OF POPULATION AND HOUSING DATA
This publication is the first in a series of releases that will publish the results from the Building Capability to Maximise use of Vocational Education and Training and Census data project. Information about this project is included on the Public Register of Data Integration Projects on the National Statistical Service website.
This project is consistent with the vision and strategies outlined in the Transforming Education and Training Information in Australia (TETIA) initiative. TETIA is a strategy for improving educational outcomes by first building the evidence foundation through facilitating access to data on individuals undertaking education and training, related contextual factors and relevant outcomes; and, second, addressing data gaps in child development and education and training statistics, particularly their cross-sectoral aspects.