4234.0 - Work-Related Training and Adult Learning, Australia, Apr 2013 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 06/12/2013  First Issue
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Education and training are major contributing factors to personal and economic well-being. In the main, schooling and/or higher education prepares young adults for the workforce, while further training such as work-related training, is vital in maximising people's capabilities and increasing productivity and workforce participation. Other training that is not work-related, i.e. personal interest learning such as recreational and personal enrichment courses, also play an important part in society as it improves both community and personal well-being.

Structured or organised learning can be classified into two distinct categories:
  • Formal learning is structured learning that leads to a qualification recognised by the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF), for example a Senior Secondary Certificate of Education, a Certificate III, or a Bachelor Degree. Note that formal learning also includes school study.
  • Non-formal learning also refers to structured learning, however it does not lead to a recognised qualification, for example a construction site induction.
Non-formal learning can be further categorised into:
  • work-related training which is undertaken to obtain, maintain or improve employment skills or to improve employment opportunities
  • personal interest learning which is undertaken for reasons not related to work.

The following diagram shows the distinction between the three different learning activities included in this publication.

Image: Diagram demonstrating the differences between formal and non-formal learning

In the 12 months to April 2013, it was estimated that of the 17.1 million people aged 15-74 years:
  • 3.7 million (22%) participated in formal learning
  • 4.6 million (27%) participated in work-related training
  • 1.4 million (8.4%) participated in personal interest learning.
Overall, 8.0 million (46%) participated in at least one of these types of learning in the previous 12 months.

Participation in formal learning decreased with age from 87% of people aged 15-19 years participating to 1.1% of those aged 65-74 years. Participation in work-related training was highest for those aged between 25 and 54 years, with around a third (33%) of this group having undertaken work-related training in the last year. The proportion of people undertaking personal interest learning in the last 12 months was relatively consistent across the age groups, with the 15-19 year age group the most likely to undertake personal interest learning (11%). (Table 1)

Graph 1.1: Participation in formal learning, work-related training and personal interest learning by age - April 2013 (a)
Graph Image for Participation in formal learning, work-related training and personal interest learning by age - April 2013 (a)

Footnote(s): (a) Persons aged 15-74 years, participation in last 12 months

Source(s): Work-Related Training and Adult Learning, Australia