A new national report on equity has found that participation in vocational education and training provides a diverse range of benefits for learners.
The first National Report on Social Equity in VET for the National VET Equity Advisory Council (NVEAC), released in June, has found that vocational education and training (VET) provides opportunities for people to gain skills that can assist them to move into employment or further study.
The report by Dr Sheldon Rothman, Catherine Underwood, Dr Julie McMillan, Justin Brown and Dr Phillip McKenzie from ACER, and Dr Chandra Shah from Centre for the Economics of Education and Training, Faculty of Education, Monash University, provides baseline information on VET participation, achievement and transitions of Indigenous Australians; people with a disability; people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds; people in regional and remote locations; people from low socioeconomic status (SES) backgrounds; and women.
The report also provides information on the VET experience of people attaining less than Year 12 or equivalent; people returning to learning after a long absence from study or work; people re-skilling following redundancy; people involved in the criminal justice system; and people of working age who are neither working nor studying.
The report found that the number of Indigenous people in VET is increasing, and the difference in participation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians is decreasing. The rate of participation in government-funded VET for Indigenous Australians aged 15–64 years is more than twice the rate for non-Indigenous Australians, but much of this higher participation is at lower qualification levels.
People with a disability
The report found that a considerable disparity remains between VET participation and outcomes for those with and without a disability, but also that VET is a viable and beneficial educational pathway for all students to gain employment and employment-related skills.
People from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
VET plays a critical role in skilling people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. The report concludes that VET provides people from new and emerging communities access to courses in English language, employment and social skills.
People in regional and remote locations
According to the report, participation in government-funded VET in regional and remote locations is much higher than it is in metropolitan centres. People in regional and remote locations, however, tend to undertake their study at lower qualification levels and enter VET with lower educational qualifications than those from metropolitan centres.
People from low-SES backgrounds
Mindful of questions about the validity and reliability of measures of SES in the VET sector, the report found that people from the lowest SES backgrounds enter VET with lower levels of educational attainment, are enrolled for fewer hours and at lower qualification levels, and have lower outcomes than those from higher SES backgrounds. Nevertheless, VET has the potential to raise the skill levels and employment outcomes of disadvantaged groups. - See more at: http://rd.acer.edu.au/rd/equity-in-vet#sthash.DD4ebJ4j.dpuf
The report also found that the educational benefits of VET study are more pronounced for women than for men, with a higher proportion of women than men enrolled in a Certificate III or above, more women than men continuing with further study, and more women than men in employment attaining a Certificate IV or Diploma or higher.
According to the report’s lead author Dr Rothman, the National Report on Social Equity in VET reveals that VET provides a diverse range of ongoing training opportunities to individuals experiencing a wide range of life circumstances.
‘VET provides an educational setting that enables people to improve or update their knowledge and skills, acquire new skills for a career move, retrain, participate in ongoing personal or professional development, and participate in continuing education and training as part of lifelong learning,’ Dr Rothman said. ■
Find out more:
Read the National Report on Social Equity in VET at <www.nveac.natese.gov.au/social_equity_report>