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Vocational education and training in school
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Vocational education and training in school

Research 3 minute read

The number of students studying technical and vocational subjects in senior secondary school has increased, and the majority immediately enter further education and training, according to a survey of Victorian school leavers.

The annual On Track survey, conducted by ACER for the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, surveyed more than 35 000 young people who completed the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE), the International Baccalaureate (IB), the intermediate or senior Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL), or a combined VCE-VCAL.

The survey included young people who completed their qualification in school (98.2 per cent) or in TAFE institutions or adult and community education providers (1.8 per cent). The surveys were conducted in April and May 2011 on young people who finished or left school in 2010. The report was published in June 2012.

While the vast majority (93.9 per cent) of school completers received a VCE or completed the IB, over 2100 young people completed VCAL instead. The proportion of school leavers who received a VCAL increased from 4.6 per cent in 2008 to 6.1 per cent in 2010. Close to 500 of the VCE recipients obtained a VCAL as well.

Apprenticeships, traineeships and employment were the most common destinations of VCAL completers, accounting for 61.8 per cent of the VCE-VCAL group and 60.2 per cent of the VCAL-only group. Certificate-level study was the next most common destination for VCAL completers. Enrolment in Certificate I-IV courses accounted for 25.6 per cent of VCAL-only completers and 24 per cent of VCE-VCAL completers.

The project also surveyed young people who included some Vocational Education and Training (VET) units in their VCE, known as VET in Schools. Bachelor degree study was the most common destination for those who included some VET in their VCE, accounting for 37.2 per cent of the 9000 VET in Schools completers. The proportion of VET in Schools participants entering higher education has increased since the first On Track survey, rising from around 18 per cent in 2003. A further 24 per cent of VET in Schools completers went on to enrol in Certificate I-IV courses and 33.5 per cent were engaged in an apprenticeship, traineeship or employment in the months following graduation.

On Track also interviewed 3700 early school leavers about their post-school pathways. Early school leavers were defined as students in Years 10, 11 and 12 who enrolled in VCE, IB or VCAL but left school without completing the qualification.

More than one-half (55.3 per cent) of the early school leavers in the survey were engaged in some form of education or training at the time of the survey. Apprenticeships and traineeships were the most common destination for early school leavers, accounting for 35 per cent of the group, while 20.2 per cent were enrolled in Certificate I-IV courses. A further 24 per cent were in full- or part-time employment, while 16.2 per cent were looking for work and 4.5 per cent were not in the labour force, education or training.

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For further information about On Track, including the annual destination reports, visit <>

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