Alternative pathways

Undertaking a vocational qualification in school is linked to increased Year 12 completion rates for male Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) students, according to a new report.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) report, which analyses data from 2006 and 2011, shows completion rates for male ATSI students was 43 per cent, but that rate rose to 60 per cent for those students who did VET (Vocational Education and Training) in Schools.

The programs offer alternative pathways, primarily for Year 11 and 12 students.

'The efficacy of VET in Schools is of particular interest to Government and researchers as it is intended to aid transitions to work and the programs engage young people at a time when they will be making decisions about employment and study after school,' the report notes.

ABS analysis shows the programs tend to be more popular with ATSI students than non-Indigenous students - uptake in 2006 for these groups was 54 per cent and 39 per cent respectively - and with students from disadvantaged backgrounds (47 per cent participation compared to 28 per cent for youngsters from advantaged areas).

Overall, 40 per cent of Year 11 and 12 students participated in VET in Schools in 2006. The vast majority (85 per cent) were doing Certificate I and II level qualifications.

The report also explores the fields of study chosen by different groups of students and future employment outcomes.

For boys, three of the most common fields of study were trade-based: building (12 per cent), automotive engineering and technology (7 per cent), and mechanical and industrial engineering and technology (6 per cent).

Girls opted for hospitality (30 per cent), office studies (19 per cent), and employment skills programmes (7 per cent).

'This analysis has shown that, for school students that don't go on to higher education, participation in VET in Schools is associated with higher rates of engagement in employment or study five years after studying in school,' the report concludes.

'It has also shown that those that undertake trade-related fields of study are more likely to be in full-time employment five years after studying at school.'

Click then link to read the full ABS report - Outcomes from Vocational Education and Training in Schools, experimental estimates, Australia, 2006-2011.

Is your school offering VET programs?

Do they have an impact on Year 12 completion rates?