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ATTAINMENT OF A NON-SCHOOL QUALIFICATION
In 2010, a little over 60% of young men and women aged 25-29 years had attained a formal qualification at the Certificate level III or above. However, the proportion of women who had attained a Bachelor Degree or above (38%) was higher than for men (30%).
Education contributes to economic growth and improves individual wellbeing. Higher levels of educational attainment are associated with increased employment opportunities and higher wage rates. (Endnote 1) Attainment of a non-school qualification (vocational or higher education qualification) also has a number of benefits. It allows individuals to engage with society, and may lead to fulfilling and rewarding careers. (Endnote 2)
ATTAINMENT OF A FORMAL QUALIFICATION AT CERTIFICATE III OR ABOVE
The formal qualification at Certificate III or above includes attainment of a Certificate III, Certificate IV, Diploma, an Advanced Diploma, Bachelor Degree, Graduate Diploma, Graduate Certificate, or Postgraduate Degree.
The changes over time in male and female attainment of a formal qualification at the Certificate level III or above may be a good indicator of how gender roles are changing over time in Australia. From 2001 to 2010, the proportion of females aged 25-29 years attaining a qualification at Certificate III or above rose 17 percentage points compared to a rise of 11 percentage points for males.
For the 30-34 year age group the proportion of women who had attained a formal qualification at Certificate III or above was 64% in 2010, up from 41% in 2001, while for men the proportion rose from 53% in 2001 to 62% in 2010.
In 2010, 57% of men aged 15-64 yeas and 55% of women held a non-school qualification. The proportion of men aged 15-64 years with a non-school qualification rose from 54% in 2004, reflecting an increase in the proportion of men with a Bachelor Degree or above. For women in this age group, the proportion with a non-school qualification rose from 48% in 2004, with the largest increase (a little over five percentage points) in those with Certificate III or IV, or with a Diploma or Advanced Diploma.
In 2010, the most common main field of highest non-school qualification for women was Management and Commerce (29%), followed by Society and Culture (18%), Health (16%), and Education (11%). For men the most common main field was Engineering and Related Technologies (31%), followed by Management and Commerce (19%), Architecture and Building (12%), and Society and Culture (9%).
ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIGHT ISLANDER PEOPLES
Education has been a major focus in the strategy to ‘close the gap’ between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and non-Indigenous Australians. (Endnote 3)
In 2008, about a third of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women aged 15-64 years had attained a non-school qualification, up from 27% in 2002. For those aged 25-29 years, 26% of men and 23% of women had attained a Certificate III or above in 2008.
By 2008 the proportions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women with a Certificate III or IV qualification had both risen, up by three and six percentage points respectively, compared to 2002.
1. Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2008, Australian Social Trends, 2008 (cat. no. 4102.0) <www.abs.gov.au>.
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