2020 NSW Post-School Destinations and Experiences Survey

This report was originally published 26 October 2021.


Destinations of students who completed or left school early in 2019

The NSW Post-School Destinations and Experiences Survey collects information about students’ main destination1 in the year after completing Year 12 or leaving school early. The survey provides information on education pathways, attainments and destinations of young people in NSW and informs policy making related to students’ post-school education, training and employment.

In 2020, all students who left school in 2019 before completing Year 12 (known as early school leavers) were invited to complete the survey about their current situation. Among those who finished Year 12, all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and students who attended Connected Communities schools were invited to complete the survey. A random sample of non‑Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students who completed Year 12 were also invited to participate. A total of 32,306 Year 12 completers and 18,303 early school leavers were invited to take part in the 2020 survey. Responses were received from 18,865 Year 12 completers and 5,978 early school leavers and are analysed in this report2.

Year 12 completers

Just over three-fifths (62.1%) of 2019 Year 12 completers were in some form of education or training in 2020. The main post-school destination for this cohort continued to be a Bachelor degree (45.0%). Just over one-quarter (26.9%) were employed (7.8% full-time and 19.1% part-time), while a smaller proportion were looking for work (7.7%), or not in the labour force, education or training (NILFET*; 3.3%).

*Not in the labour force means that a person is not working and not looking for work.

Early school leavers

In 2020, the main post-school destinations among 2019 early school leavers were substantially different from Year 12 completers. More than half (51.4%) were undertaking some form of education or training. The most common post-school destination among this cohort was an apprenticeship (27.7%). Just over one-quarter of early school leavers were employed (8.8% full-time and 16.7% part-time), while a smaller proportion were looking for work (17.3%) or NILFET (5.9%).

1 There are ten main school destinations that relate to further education and current employment. This classification system is hierarchical and prioritises education related post-school destinations over participation in employment. As such, it represents a young person’s main destination since leaving school.

2 A detailed outline of the survey method, including eligibility guidelines and the selection process can be found in the technical report.


  • Post-school
  • Post-school destinations and expectations
  • Research report

Business Unit:

  • Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation
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