Community Colleges Australia (CCA) recognises that this week (July 2 to 9) is “NAIDOC Week” (National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee).
CCA recognises the important role that Indigenous Australians play in Australian life, and honours their elders, past, present and emerging. We thank the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander inhabitants of our land, Australia, for their looking after our country for many thousands of years before the arrival of European settlers.
CCA notes that vocational education and training (VET) is particularly important to Indigenous Australians. Key information about Indigenous participation in VET from the May 2017 National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) report show:
- The recent Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage report and ‘Closing the Gap’ reports show there have been increases in Indigenous participation in education across the board, from increasing Year 12 completions through to increased participation in tertiary education. However, these increases do not appear to be translating into improved employment rates for Indigenous people, which has plateaued since 2008.
- Despite the substantial increases over the past 10 years, Indigenous retention to Year 12 and participation in higher education remain low compared to the non-Indigenous population. By contrast, Indigenous people participate in VET and VET in Schools at a higher rate compared to the non-Indigenous population. Indigenous VET participation in 2015 was exactly twice as high (18.7%) than non-Indigenous VET participation (9.3%). See Tables 1 & 2 below.
Table 1: VET in Schools participation rate for 15-19 year olds (%)
Table 2: VET participation rate for 15-64 year olds (%)
(Source: NCVER, 2017)
- Despite the fluctuations in participation rates, Indigenous people continue to participate in VET at higher rates than the non-Indigenous population, across all age groups and sexes.
- Some of the higher VET participation rate by Indigenous people is due to the age structure, where Indigenous Australians are generally much younger than non-Indigenous Australians.
- In 2015, community providers provided just under 5% of Indigenous VET services, approximately the same as the total community provision. Community providers in “inner regional areas” provide proportionally more VET to Indigenous people than other areas, reflecting where many community providers operate. (see Table 3 below.)
- Provision by TAFE institutes and private providers is almost evenly split, but TAFE institutes have a greater prominence in remote areas, whereas private providers are slightly more prominent in major cities. Private providers have a strong presence in Queensland compared with other states, and the university sector in the Northern Territory is also a significant provider of VET compared with other states.
Table 3: Indigenous program enrolments by provider type and remoteness index (%)
|Major cities||Inner regional||Outer regional||Remote||Very remote||All areas|
|Private training provider||41.2||38.0||38.2||30.6||30.9||37.8|
|Community education provider||4.6||5.8||4.4||3.6||4.3||4.7|
(Source: NCVER, 2017)
- Indigenous graduates are less likely to be employed after training than non-Indigenous graduates, but they are also less likely to have been employed before training. Indigenous and non-Indigenous graduates who were not employed before training are just as likely to be employed after training as each other.
(image credit: Don Perlgut)