Australia’s vocational education and training (VET) system is showing its strength and resilience
with the latest 2017 data showing student numbers are steady at 4.2 million.
The report released today by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER),
details total VET student and course figures for last year, including a stable overall student
participation rate at 24 per cent for 15 to 64 year olds.
Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills, Karen Andrews, said that the Australian
Government’s commitment to VET was critical to maintaining high quality training.
“In 2018–19, the Australian Government will provide approximately $3 billion for VET, including
$1.8 billion to states and territories and $1.2 billion for the Commonwealth’s own programs, such
as Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Program and Adult Migrant English Program.”
Minister Andrews noted that the call to lift the number of apprentices and trainees in training had
been heeded—increasing by 5.3 per cent from 337,200 to 355,200.
“While these results point to some encouraging results, the Turnbull Government continues to
work to further strengthen the sector.
“The Skilling Australians Fund, for example, will see an estimated $1.5 billion committed to
projects to add an extra 300,000 new apprentices Australia wide,” Minister Andrews said.
The number of international students (onshore and offshore) also increased by more than
10 per cent from 168,700 to 186,300 in 2017.
“Offshore providers offering Australian qualifications are sharing opportunities with the world,”
Minister Andrews said.
“I was able to see offshore providers in action on a recent visit to Sri Lanka, where the Colombo
Academy of Hospitality—a joint venture project between William Angliss Institute and the Sri
Lankan Institute of Information Technology—is offering Australian hospitality qualifications from
food and wine, through to business management.”
Minister Andrews highlighted that the quality of training delivered was just as important as the
“The Government reshaped the system so that quality VET providers now focus on recruiting
students who are genuinely interested in gaining real skills for real careers—in seeing their
course through to the end.
“I’m also pleased to see the 19 per cent growth in subject only enrolments, where students study
a standalone unit or subject to access new skills when they don’t necessarily need a full course.
“This flexibility shows that the VET sector is responding to the needs of students, business and
industry in their offering and to the changing nature of work,” Minister Andrews said.
For more information: https://www.ncver.edu.au/publications/publications/all-publications/total-vetstudents-and-courses-2017#
Minister Andrews’ media contact: Jennifer Cahill (02) 6277 4360 / 0417 067 946