2018 NSW Post-School Destinations and Experiences Survey

This report was originally published 28 October 2019.

Image: 2018 NSW Post-School Destinations and Experiences Survey

Summary

Since 2010, the NSW Secondary Students’ Post-School Destinations Survey has been collecting information about students’ main destinations in the year after completing Year 12 or leaving school. The survey seeks to provide critical information on education pathways, attainments and destinations of young people in NSW and inform policy making related to students’ post-school education, training and employment.

In 2018, 3,529 students who finished Year 12 and 4,470 students who left school before completing Year 12 (known as early school leavers) completed the survey. All Aboriginal and Torres Strait students, students who attended schools participating in the Connected Communities program and students who left school before the minimum leaving age were in scope for the survey. A sample of students who completed Year 12 or left school after the minimum leaving age were also in scope.

Main destination

Year 12 completers

In 2018, six months after finishing school, more than two-thirds (69.2%) of Year 12 completers were in some form of education or training. The main post-school destination among Year 12 completers continues to be a Bachelor degree (50.6%). The remaining four education and training categories combined make up less than 19 per cent of all other post-school destinations, with 5.5 per cent enrolled in a Certificate IV, Diploma or Advanced Diploma; 3.6 per cent a Certificate I, II or III course; 5.7 per cent an apprenticeship; and 3.8 per cent a traineeship.

Close to one-quarter (23.1%) of Year 12 completers were employed, while few were looking for work (5.2%) or not in the labour force, education or training (NILFET; 2.5%). (Not in the labour force means that a person is not working and not looking for work) (refer to Table 1 in Appendix).

Early school leavers

By comparison, more than half (57.1%) of early school leavers were in some form of education or training in 2018. The most common form of education and training was an apprenticeship, with around one-third (32.4%) of early leavers training at this level. The remaining four education and training categories were made up of less than ten per cent of early school leavers, with 1.1 per cent enrolled in a Bachelor degree; 8.0 per cent in a Certificate IV, Diploma or Advanced Diploma; 8.7 per cent in a Certificate I, II or III course; and 6.9% in a traineeship.

Almost one-quarter (24.8%) of early school leavers were employed, while more than one-in-ten (12.9%) were looking for work and one-in-twenty (5.2%) were NILFET (refer to Table 2 in Appendix). Overall, early school leavers were less likely to be in some form of education or training than Year 12 completers (57.1% vs. 69.2%) but more likely to be employed full-time (11.1% vs. 9.3%), looking for work (12.9% vs. 5.2%) or NILFET (5.2% vs. 2.5%) (refer to Table 3 in Appendix).

Education and training
A line chart showing in 2018, 69.2 percent of Year 12 completers were in some form of education or training. This is fewer than in 2015, 75.2 percent. Among early school leavers, 57.1 percent were in education or training, an increase since 2015, 53.8 percent.

In 2018, six months after finishing school, 69.2 per cent of Year 12 completers were in some form of education or training (one of the five categories below). This is fewer than in 2015 (75.2%). Among early school leavers, 57.1 per cent were in education or training; an increase since 2015 (53.8%).

Year 12 completers

50.6% Bachelor degree 5.5%
VET Cert IV+
3.6%
VET Cert I-III
5.7% Apprenticeship 3.8% Traineeship
▲ 3.2 percentage points since 2010 ▼4.4 percentage points since 2010 ▼ 2.4 percentage points since 2010 ▲ 0.3 percentage points since 2010 ▲ 0.6 percentage points since 2010

Early school leavers

1.1% Bachelor degree 8.0%
VET Cert IV+
8.7 %
VET Cert I-III
32.4% Apprenticeship 6.9% Traineeship
▲ 0.7 percentage points since 2010 ▲ 1.3 percentage points since 2010 ▼ 10.7 percentage points since 2010 ▲ 6.7 percentage points since 2010 ▲ 3.9 percentage points since 2010

The most common form of further education and training chosen by Year 12 completers was a Bachelor degree (50.6% of all Year 12 completers). In addition, 5.5 per cent of Year 12 completers enrolled in a Certificate IV, Diploma or Advanced Diploma; 3.6 per cent in a Certificate I-III; 5.7 per cent in an apprenticeship; and 3.8 per cent in a traineeship. Overall, the proportion of Year 12 completers commencing a VET certificate has decreased since 2010 (refer to Table 1 in Appendix).

In comparison the most common form of further education and training chosen by early school leavers was an apprenticeship, with around one-third training at this level (32.4% of all early school leavers). 8.7 per cent had entered a Certificate I-III; 8.0 per cent a Certificate IV, Diploma or Advanced Diploma; and 6.9 per cent a traineeship. There has been an increase in the proportion of early school leavers entering apprenticeships and traineeships since 2010. During the same time period, the proportion of early school leavers entering a Certificate I-III course decreased (refer to Table 2 in Appendix).

Sociodemographic differences

Notable differences in the characteristics of Year 12 completers and early school leavers entering further education and training are as follows (refer to the tables in the Appendix for full details):

Year 12 completers Early school leavers

Females more likely to be in a Bachelor degree or a traineeship.

Males more likely to be in an apprenticeship.

Females more likely to be in a Bachelor degree, a VET Cert I-III course, a Cert IV+ course or a traineeship.

Males more likely to be in an apprenticeship.

Higher parental SES more likely to be in a Bachelor degree.

Lower parental SES more likely to be in an apprenticeship.

Higher parental SES more likely to be in a Bachelor degree, a VET Cert IV+ course or an apprenticeship.

Non-government school students more likely to be in a Bachelor degree.

Non-government school students more likely to be in a VET Cert IV+ course or an apprenticeship.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students more likely to be in a VET Cert I-III course or a traineeship.

Non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students more likely to be in a Bachelor degree.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students more likely to be in a VET Cert I-III course.

Non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students more likely to be in a VET Cert IV+ course or an apprenticeship.

Students living in Greater Sydney more likely to be in a Bachelor degree.

Students living in Regional NSW more likely to be in a VET Cert I-III course or an apprenticeship.

Students living in Greater Sydney more likely to be in a Bachelor degree, a VET Cert IV+ course or an apprenticeship.

Students living in Regional NSW more likely to be in a traineeship.

Area of study

The main area of study chosen by Year 12 completers was society and culture which includes arts, humanities and law courses. The main area of study chosen by early school leavers was health.

Year 12 completers

19.7%
Society and culture
19.3%
Health
18.2 %
Management and commerce
▼3.8 percentage points since 2014 ▲ 4.2 percentage points since 2014 ▼ 3.9 percentage points since 2014

Early school leavers

15.3%
Health
14.6%
Creative arts
12.6 %
Food hospitality and personal services
▲ 8.0 percentage points since 2014 ▲ 5.5 percentage points since 2014 ▼ 2.6 percentage points since 2014
Employment
A line chart showing in 2018, 23.1 percent of Year 12 completers were employed, 9.3 per cent fulltime and 13.8 per cent part time. 24.8 percent of early school leavers were also employed, 11.1 per cent fulltime and 13.7 per cent part time.

Year 12 completers

9.3% Full-time 13.8% Part-time
▲0.4 percentage points since 2010 ▼0.3 percentage points since 2010

Early school leavers

11.1% Full-time 13.7% Part-time
▼2.5 percentage points since 2010 ▼2.3 percentage points since 2010

Almost one-in-four (23.1%) Year 12 completers were employed; 9.3 per cent fulltime and 13.8 per cent part-time. Since 2015 there has been an increase in both full-time (2.3 percentage points) and part-time (3.1 percentage points) employment for this cohort (refer to Table 1 in Appendix).

A similar proportion (24.8%) of early school leavers were also employed; 11.1 per cent full-time and 13.7 per cent part-time. Since 2014 there has been an increase in full-time employment (2.8 percentage points) for this cohort (refer to Table 2 in Appendix)

Sociodemographic differences

Notable differences in the characteristics of Year 12 completers and early school leavers in employment are as follows (refer to the tables in the Appendix for full details):

Year 12 completers Early school leavers

Females more likely to be in part-time employment.

Males more likely to be in full-time employment, females more likely to be in part-time employment.

Lower parental SES more likely to be in full-time employment.

Lower parental SES more likely to be in full-time employment.

No differences in full-time or part-time employment according to school sector.

Government school students more likely to be in full-time and part-time employment.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students more likely to be in full-time and part-time employment.

No differences in full-time or parttime employment according to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background.

Students living in Regional NSW more likely to be in fulltime and part-time employment.

Students living in Regional NSW more likely to be in full-time employment.

Among Year 12 completers, the most common apprenticeship was electrician, the most common traineeship was child care, and the most common occupation was sales person or assistant. Among early school leavers, the most common apprenticeship was bricklaying, carpentry and joinery, the most common traineeship was sales person or assistant, and the most common occupation was labourer.

Areas of apprenticeships

Year 12 completers

24.8%
Electrician
20.8%
Bricklaying, carpentry and joinery
9.7 %
Fabrication engineer trades workers
▲8.5 percentage points since 2014 ▼ 1.6 percentage points since 2014 ▲ 8.1 percentage points since 2014

Early school leavers

25.1%
Bricklaying, carpentry and joinery
14.5%
Automotive electrician or mechanic
11.7 %
Plumber
▲ 6.6 percentage points since 2014 ▼ 0.5 percentage points since 2014 ▲ 2.2 percentage points since 2014

Areas of traineeship

Year 12 completers

22.0%
Child carer
16.2%
General clerk
11.3%
Sales person or assistant
▲ 5.1 percentage points since 2014 ▲ 6.9 percentage points since 2014 ▼ 13.3 percentage points since 2014

Early school leavers

27.1%
Sales person or assistant
16.3%
Child carer
11.0 %
General clerk
▲ 2.2 percentage points since 2014 ▲ 1.1 percentage points since 2014 ▲ 2.9 percentage points since 2014

Areas of occupation

Year 12 completers

28.3%
Sales workers
26.5%
Community and personal service workers
12.0%
Labourers
▼4.6 percentage points since 2014 ▼ 1.5 percentage points since 2014 ▼ 2.9 percentage points since 2014

Early school leavers

29.5%
Labourers
23.6%
Sales workers
21.0%
Community and personal service workers
▲ 1.9 percentage points since 2014 ▼ 8.1 percentage points since 2014 ▲ 4.7 percentage points since 2014
Looking for work
A line chart showing in 2018, 5.2 percent of Year 12 completers and 12.9 percent of early school leavers were looking for work. The proportion of Year 12 completers looking for work has remained relatively stable over time, while the proportion of early school leavers looking for work has decreased since 2014.

One-in-twenty (5.2%) Year 12 completers and more than one-in-ten (12.9%) early school leavers were looking for work. The proportion of Year 12 completers looking for work has remained relatively stable over time, while the proportion of early school leavers looking for work has decreased since 2014. (refer to Tables 1 and 2 in Appendix).

Sociodemographic differences

Notable differences in the characteristics of Year 12 completers and early school leavers looking for work are as follows (refer to the tables in the Appendix for full details):

Year 12 completers

More likely to:

  • be male
  • have attended a government school
  • be of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background.

Early school leavers

More likely to:

  • be female
  • be from a lower parental SES
  • have attended a government school
  • be of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background.
Not in labour force, education or training (NILFET)
A line chart showing in 2018, very few Year 12 completers, 2.5 percent, or early school leavers, 5.2 percent were NILFET.

Very few Year 12 completers (2.5%) or early school leavers (5.2%) were NILFET. The proportion of Year 12 completers who were NILFET was higher than in 2010 and 2013 but similar to 2017. The proportion of early school leavers who were NILFET was also similar to 2017 but lower than in 2014, 2015 and 2016 (refer to Tables 1 and 2 in Appendix).

Sociodemographic differences

There were no notable differences in the characteristics of Year 12 completers who are NILFET. Notable differences in the characteristics of early school leavers who are NILFET are as follows (refer to the tables in the Appendix for full details):

Early school leavers

More likely to:

  • have left school when aged 17 years or older
  • be female
  • have attended a government school
  • be of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background.

Main activity

Year 12 completers and early school leavers who were NILFET were asked about their main activity. For both cohorts the main activity was recreation.

Year 12 completers

48.8%
Recreation (inc. gap year, nothing)
28.8%
Informal study or training
4.5%
Looking after children/preparing for birth
▲ 3.3 percentage points since 2014 ▲ 7.8 percentage points since 2014 ▲ 2.6 percentage points since 2014

Early school leavers

29.1%
Recreation (inc. gap year, nothing)
20.1%
Unable to work due to illness
12.7%
Looking after children/preparing for birth
▲ 0.7 percentage points since 2014 ▲ 11.1 percentage points since 2014 ▼ 6.3 percentage points since 2014

Deferring further education

Almost one-in-five (19.0%) Year 12 completers who were NILFET indicated they were enrolled in a course of study but had deferred it. This was lower than in 2014 (43.0%). However, other groups deferred education at similar rates. For example, 27.9 per cent of those in full-time employment, 27.9 per cent of those in part-time employment and 14.4 per cent of those looking for work had deferred a place in further education in 2018.

Early school leavers who were NILFET deferred further education at a rate of 2.9%.

Methodology

This report provides a brief overview of the main findings of 2018 NSW Secondary Students’ Post-School Destinations Survey. Several points should be kept in mind when considering the findings.

All data are weighted to match relevant population parameters. Bases (n) are unweighted. Survey weighted t-tests have been conducted to assess differences between subgroups and between survey waves. Analyses were conducted in R (R Core, 2017) using the survey package (Lumley, 2017). Results reported as “different” implies that a statistically significant difference at a 99 per cent confidence level has been established.

Where appropriate, comparisons have been made to previous waves of this survey. For completeness, comparisons for main destination include studies conducted in 2010 and 2013. These studies, however, surveyed small numbers of early leavers due to a different sampling methodology. This limits the potential for meaningful comparisons. All other findings are therefore compared with studies conducted since 2014.

Field of education was coded using Australian Standard Classification of Education (Australian Bureau of Statistics catalogue number 1272.0). Occupation was coded to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (Version 1.2, Australian Bureau of Statistics catalogue number 1220.0).

For further information about the survey background and methodology please refer to the 2018 technical report or contact the NSW Department of Education.

Acknowledgements

This annual report has been prepared by the Social Research Centre, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Australian National University, for the Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation, NSW Department of Education and the NSW Skills Board. The views and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors and are not necessarily those of the NSW Minister for Education, the NSW Department of Education or the NSW Skills Board.

Acknowledgement is also given to the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA), Catholic Schools NSW and the Association of Independent Schools NSW for their assistance and input into the research, as well as the numerous anonymous young people and their parents, carers and/or guardians who gave their time to participate in the research.

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