Rates double for online work-related training

Media Release

One in two people are now doing their work-related training online, more than double the rate from four years ago, according to data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

James Mowle, Director of Education and Training Statistics at the ABS, said: "In 2020-21, 4.4 million Australians (23 per cent) aged 15-74 years reported doing work-related training in the past 12 months, and just over half of this group had done their most recent training online."

"The proportion doing their work-related training online rose from 19 per cent in 2016-17 to 55 per cent in 2020-21. Work-related training in a classroom dropped from 69 per cent to 37 per cent in this time."

"The highest rates of online delivery were in Victoria (64 per cent), the Australian Capital Territory (59 per cent) and New South Wales (57 per cent). Many states and territories, particularly Victoria, were impacted by COVID lockdowns over this time, which would have driven a rise in online learning."

The 2020-21 Work-Related Training and Adult Learning survey collected information from July 2020 to June 2021 from people aged 15-74 years on formal study, work-related training, and personal interest learning.

"Two in five Australians had engaged in learning in the past 12 months (42 per cent, or 7.8 million people), with around half of these (3.8 million) studying for a formal qualification", Mr Mowle said.

"Young people aged 20-24 years were the most likely to have done learning for personal interest in the last 12 months (8 per cent compared with 6 per cent of Australians in general)."

The survey also asked about the impact of COVID-19 on people's ability to enrol in study, training or learning.

Of the 5 per cent of Australians who wanted to enrol in formal study in the last 12 months but couldn't (924,000 people), over a quarter (27%) said this was due to COVID-19. Of the 7 per cent who reported barriers to non-formal learning, almost half (45 per cent) said it was due to COVID-19.

More details are available in Work-Related Training and Adult Learning, 2020-21, available for free download from the ABS website.

Media notes

  • When reporting ABS data you must attribute the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or the ABS) as the source.
  • For media requests and interviews, contact the ABS Media Team via media@abs.gov.au (8.30am-5pm Mon-Fri).
  • Subscribe to our media release notification service to get notified of ABS media releases or publications upon their release.
  • Work-related training is structured courses that do not form part of a qualification, and are undertaken to obtain, maintain or improve employment related skills and/or improve employment opportunities. 
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