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Australia's long-term prosperity, particularly in an increasingly global economy, is heavily dependent on ongoing investment in workforce development. In addition, the changing structure of the labour market and the fast pace of technological change, requires Australia's workers to not only maintain, but also improve and broaden their employment related skills. Apart from formal qualifications undertaken through the education system, work-related training plays a crucial role in developing and sustaining skilled and competent employees. For the individual, work-related training may help enhance personal and professional development and build new capabilities. For businesses, it improves workplace performance and productivity.
Work-related training refers to structured learning activities that do not lead to a formal qualification. These often take place at the workplace (delivered by another employee or a consultant hired to deliver the work-related training) or can be undertaken externally.
PARTICIPATION IN WORK-RELATED TRAINING
It was estimated that around 4.6 million (27%) Australians aged 15-74 years participated in work-related training in the 12 months to April 2013. There was no difference in the participation rates between men and women (both 27%). Participation rates were lower for those aged 15-24 years and older Australians aged 55-74 years reflecting the lower rates of employment participation in these age groups.
The Australian Capital Territory had the highest proportion of people undertaking work-related training (39%), while Queensland and Victorian participation rates were 24% and 26% respectively. People living in the Northern Territory spent more time undertaking their most recent work-related training course when compared with the other states and territories, with 60% having spent 20 hours or more. Amongst the other states and territories the proportion of people spending 20 hours or more on their most recent course ranged from 34% in Tasmania to 48% in the Australian Capital Territory. The proportion of people who incurred personal costs for their most recent course was 9.2% in the Northern Territory compared with 18% of people living in Queensland and New South Wales. (Table 1 and 3)
People who have completed a formal non-school qualification had higher participation rates than people who had not (35% compared with 16%). Furthermore, people with higher level qualifications were more likely to participate in work-related training when compared with those with lower level qualifications. Of those people whose highest qualification was a Bachelor Degree or higher, 43% had participated in work-related training, compared with 22% of people whose highest non-school qualification was a Certificate I or II. (Table 1)
Footnote(s): (a) Persons aged 15-74 years, participation in last 12 months
CHARACTERISTICS OF MOST RECENT COURSE
Of those who had participated in work-related training in the last 12 months, just over a third (36%) reported undertaking one course, 22% undertook two courses, and 43% participated in three or more courses.
Traditional classroom instruction, including lectures, presentations and seminars, was the most common method for delivering the most recent work-related training, with 75% of participants reporting this as the main delivery method. Online instruction was the main delivery method for 13% of participants. (Table 3)
Unlike study towards a non-school qualification, where people generally participate to improve their job prospects (51%), most work-related training was undertaken to improve skills for the current job, with nine in ten people (90%) reporting this as their main reason for participating in their most recent course. Increasing job prospects (7.3%) and personal development (1.7%) were less common reasons for participation. (Table 2)
One quarter (25%) of all people who undertook work-related training reported they always used the skills or knowledge gained from the most recent course, while 23% reported they used the skills or knowledge often. The proportion of people who reported they always used the new skills or knowledge was higher amongst younger people (aged 15-24 years) than older people (aged 65-74 years) (29% compared with 17%). (Table 4)
WORK-RELATED TRAINING AND EMPLOYMENT
In the 12 months to April 2013, around 4.0 million (35%) employed persons aged 15-74 participated in work-related training as part of their current main job. People employed full-time were more likely to participate than those employed part-time (38% compared with 27%). Employees were also more likely to participate than people working in their own business (37% compared with 17%). (Table 5)
Participation in work-related training varied across the different industries. Over half of those working in the Education and Training (54%), Public Administration and Safety (53%), Mining (52%) and Health Care and Social Assistance (52%) industries had undertaken work-related training. Participation rates were lower for those employed in Wholesale Trade (21%), Accommodation and Food Services (20%) and Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing (16%). (Table 5)
Men were more likely than women to undertake work-related training if employed in Information Media and Telecommunications (43% compared with 22%) and Professional, Scientific and Technical Services (40% compared with 31%). In contrast more women than men employed in Education and Training (57% compared with 47%) had participated.
Professionals and Community and Personal Service Workers were the occupations with the highest participation (50% and 47% respectively), while 20% of labourers had participated in work-related training as part of their current job. Across most occupations, participation rates between women and men were relatively similar, however, more female professionals had undertaken work-related training (54% compared with 45%). Men were more likely than women to have participated if employed as Machinery Operators and Drivers (25% compared with 15%) and Clerical and Administrative Workers (34% compared with 28%). (Table 5)
Graph 2.2: Participation in work-related training for current main job by sex - April 2013 (a)
Footnote(s): (a) Persons aged 15-74 years, partcipation in last 12 months as part of current main job
Participation in work-related training varied with the size of the employer. People employed in larger businesses (100 employees or more) were more likely to have participated in work-related training (46%) when compared with people employed in medium sized (20 to 99 employees) (33%) and smaller (less than 20 employees) (20%) businesses. (Table 5)
Graph 2.3: Participation in work-related training as part of current main job by size of business- April 2013 (a)
Footnote(s): (a) Persons aged 15-74 years, participation in last 12 months relating to current main job
Furthermore, amongst people who had undertaken work-related training, those working in larger businesses were more likely to have completed three or more work-related training courses (51%) when compared with those employed in smaller businesses (32%). (Table 7)
Larger businesses were more likely than smaller businesses to deliver the work-related training in-house by an existing staff member (45% compared with 9.7% - based on the most recent course). For persons employed in medium sized businesses, the most common way to deliver the most recent course was by a consultant hired by the business (60%). (Table 7)
Participation in work-related training is largely supported by employers who, in most cases, bear the costs in terms of time and money. Most employed people who participated in work-related training (86%) did not incur any personal costs associated with their most recent course. People employed in smaller businesses were more likely to incur a personal cost than those in larger businesses (41% compared with 7.0%). (Table 9 and 10)
The majority of employed people undertake work-related training during working hours only (68%). However, the proportion undertaking work-related training outside working hours varies across the different occupations. For example, approximately 11% of Clerical and Administrative Workers had undertaken some part of their most recent course outside working hours compared with 39% of Community and Personal Service Workers. (Table 10)
Of those who had undertaken work-related training for their current job, the median time spent undertaking the most recent course was 16 hours. Over one third (38%) of people had spent less than 10 hours on the most recent course, while 30% had participated for 30 hours or more. Note that this time includes both contact (time spent with an instructor or teacher) and non-contact time (time to complete other tasks such as assignments and research). (Table 8 and 10)
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