2019 NSW Post-School Destinations and Experiences Survey

This report was originally published 31 August 2020.

Summary

Destinations of students who finished or left school in 2018

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 2019, all students who left school in 2018 before finishing 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 the other students who completed Year 12 were also invited. A total of 39,336 Year 12 completers and 19,272 early school leavers were invited to take part in the 2019 survey. Responses were received from 18,777 Year 12 completers and 6,135 early school leavers and are analysed in this report2.

Year 12 completers

Two thirds (65.7%) of 2018 Year 12 completers were in some form of education or training in 2019. The main post-school destination for this cohort continued to be a Bachelor degree (48.4%). One-quarter (26.1%) were employed (8.4% full-time and 17.7% part-time), while a smaller proportion were looking for work (5.7%), 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).

Early school leavers

In 2019, the main post-school destinations among 2018 early school leavers were substantially different from Year 12 completers. More than half (54.1%) were undertaking some form of education or training. The most common post-school destination among this cohort was an apprenticeship (29.1%). A quarter of early school leavers were employed (9.8% full-time and 15.2% part-time), while a smaller proportion were looking for work (15.7%), or NILFET (5.2%).

Year 12 completers – Where are they now?

In education and training

A line chart showing the percentage of Year 12 completers in education or training between 2014 - 2019. 65.7 percent of Year 12 completers were in education or training in 2019. This is fewer than in each year since 2014. A line chart showing the percentage of Year 12 completers in education or training between 2014 - 2019. 65.7 percent of Year 12 completers were in education or training in 2019. This is fewer than in each year since 2014.

Two-thirds (65.7%) of Year 12 completers were in education or training in 2019. This is fewer than in each year since 2014. There has been a 3.5 percentage point decrease since 2018.

48.4% Bachelor degree 5.1%
VET Cert IV+
2.1%
VET Cert III
1.0%
VET Cert I-II
5.1% Apprenticeship 3.9% Traineeship
▼ down 4.1 percentage points since 2014 ▼down 2.3 percentage points since 2014 ▼ down 0.2 percentage points since 2014 ▼ down 0.8 percentage points since 2014 ▲ up 0.2 percentage points since 2014 ▼ down 0.5 percentage points since 2014

Bachelor degrees were the most popular destination among Year 12 completers despite being down 4.1 percentage points since 2014.

Participation in VET certificate IV+ has also decreased since 2014.

For those undertaking a bachelor degree or VET certificate
What are they studying?
21.4%
Society and culture
19.0%
Management and commerce
18.3%
Health
▼down 2.1 percentage points since 2014 ▼down 3.1 percentage points since 2014

▲ up 3.2 percentage points since 2014

Females were more likely than males to be studying society and culture, health, creative arts or education. Males were more likely than females to be studying management and commerce, engineering, natural and physical sciences.

The most common study areas by level of course were:

  • Bachelor degree – Society and culture (22.6%).
  • VET certificate IV+ – Creative arts (18.3%).
  • VET certificate III – Health (14.6%).
  • VET certificate I-II – Mixed fields programmes (14.7%).
For those doing an apprenticeship
What type of apprenticeships?
23.7%
Electrician
17.9%
Bricklaying, carpentry and joinery
10.2%
Fabrication engineering trades workers
▲ up 7.4 percentage points since 2014 ▼down 4.5 percentage points since 2014 ▲ up 8.6 percentage points since 2014

Females were more likely than males to be undertaking an apprenticeship in food trade.

Males were more likely than females to be undertaking an apprenticeship as an electrician or fabrication engineering trades worker.

For those doing a traineeship
What type of traineeships?
26.6%
Childcare
13.6%
General clerk
10.5%
Sales person or assistant
▲ up 9.7 percentage points since 2014 ▲ up 4.3 percentage points since 2014 ▼ down 14.1 percentage points since 2014

In employment and not in education

8.4%
Full-time work
17.7%
Part-time work
▲ up 1.8 percentage points since 2014 ▲ up 5.2 percentage points since 2014

One-quarter (26.1%) of Year 12 completers were employed and not in education in 2019. Participation in full-time and part-time employment has increased since 2014.

Not in education, training or employment – Looking for work

5.7%
Looking for work

▲ up 0.2 percentage points since 2014

One-in-twenty (5.7%) Year 12 completers were looking for work. This rate remains similar to 2014.

Not in education, training or employment – NILFET

2.5%
NILFET

down 0.1 percentage points since 2014

The proportion of Year 12 completers who were NILFET remains unchanged since 2018 (2.5%), and similar to 2014.

For those in employment
What jobs are they doing?
27.6%
Community and personal service workers
26.2%
Sales workers
11.1%
Professional
▼ down 0.4 percentage points since 2014 ▼ down 6.7 percentage points since 2014 ▼ down 3.6 percentage points since 2014

Females were more likely than males to be working as community and personal services workers, sales workers, or clerical and admin workers.

Males were more likely than females to be working as machinery operators and drivers, labourers, or technicians and trades workers.

For those not in the labour force, education and training
Main reason
37.8%
Recreation (incl. gap year, nothing)
23.2%
Informal study or training
9.1%
Unable to work due to illness
▼ down 7.7 percentage points since 2014 ▼ down 2.2 percentage points since 2014 ▼ down 1.1 percentage points since 2014

Among those who were not in the labour force, education or training, there were no differences in the broad main activity categories for males and females

Males were however more likely than females to report recreational activities as their main activity.

For those who deferred further education

Almost one-third (29.0%) of Year 12 completers who were NILFET indicated they were enrolled in a course of study but have deferred it.

Those who were employed deferred further education at a similar rate:

  • 30.0% full-time employment.
  • 24.9% part-time employment.

Those who were looking for work were less likely to have deferred a course than those who were NILFET (17.7%).

What are the subgroup differences in destinations?

Females students were more likely than male students to undertake:

  • Bachelor degree
  • VET certificate III
  • Traineeship.

Males students were more likely than female students to be:

  • Apprenticeship
  • Looking for work
  • NILFET.

Government school students were more likely than non-Government school students to be in:

  • VET certificate IV+
  • VET certificate III
  • VET certificate I-II
  • Part-time work
  • Looking for work
  • NILFET.

Non-government school students were more likely than Government school students to undertake a:

  • Bachelor degree.

Higher parental SES3 students more likely than lower parental SES more likely to undertake a:

  • Bachelor degree.

Lower parental SES students were more likely than higher parental SES to be in:

  • VET certificate IV+
  • VET certificate III
  • VET certificate I-II
  • Apprenticeship
  • Traineeship
  • Full-time work
  • Part-time work
  • Looking for work.

Students who speak a language other than English at home were more likely than those who do not to undertake a:

  • Bachelor degree
  • VET certificate IV+.

Students who do not speak a language other than English at home were more likely than those who do to be in:

  • VET certificate III
  • VET certificate I-II
  • Apprenticeship
  • Traineeship
  • Full-time work
  • Part-time work.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students were more likely than non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to be in:

  • VET certificate III
  • VET certificate I-II
  • Traineeship
  • Part-time work
  • Looking for work
  • NILFET.

Non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students were more likely than Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to undertake a:

  • Bachelor degree.

Students living in Greater Sydney were more likely than students living in the rest of NSW to undertake a:

  • Bachelor degree.

Students living in the rest of NSW were more likely than students living in Greater Sydney to be in:

  • VET certificate III
  • VET certificate I-II
  • Apprenticeship
  • Traineeship
  • Full-time work
  • Part-time work
  • Looking for work.

Early school leavers – Where are they now?

In education and training

A line chart showing the percentage of early school leavers in education or training between 2014 - 2019. 54.2 percent of 2018 early school leavers were in education or training in 2019. This is fewer than in 2018 but similar to the proportion over the period from 2015 to 2017. A line chart showing the percentage of early school leavers in education or training between 2014 - 2019. 54.2 percent of 2018 early school leavers were in education or training in 2019. This is fewer than in 2018 but similar to the proportion over the period from 2015 to 2017.

Over half (54.2%) of 2018 early school leavers were in education or training in 2019. This is fewer than in 2018 (57.1%) but similar to the proportion over the period from 2015 to 2017.

1.5% Bachelor degree 5.9%
VET Cert IV+
7.3%
VET Cert III
3.2%
VET Cert I-II
29.1% Apprenticeship 7.1% Traineeship
▼ down 0.6 percentage points since 2014 ▼down 1.9 percentage points since 2014 ▼ down 0.3 percentage points since 2014 ▼ down 3.8 percentage points since 2014 ▲ up 2.9 percentage points since 2014 ▲ down 0.6 percentage points since 2014

Apprenticeships continued to be the most popular destination among early school leavers. Despite being up 2.9 percentage points since 2014, apprenticeship participation is down 3.3 percentage points compared with 2018 (32.4%).

Participation in VET certificates I-II and IV+ has decreased since 2014.

For those undertaking a bachelor degree or VET certificate
What are they studying?
16.3%
Health
13.6%
Management and commerce
13.0%
Society and culture
▲ up 9.0 percentage points since 2014 ▼down 5.0 percentage points since 2014 ▲ up 0.7 percentage points since 2014

Females were more likely than males to be studying health, society and culture, and food hospitality and personal services.

Males were more likely than females to study information technology.

The most common study area by level of course were:

  • Bachelor degree – Society and culture (19.9%).
  • VET certificate IV+ - Creative arts (22.4%).
  • VET certificate III – Health (17.1%).
  • VET certificate I-II – Mixed fields programmes (18.1%).
For those doing an apprenticeship
What type of apprenticeships?
21.7%
Bricklaying, carpentry and joinery
13.9%
Electrician
13.4%
Automotive electrician and mechanics
▲ up 3.2 percentage points since 2014 ▲ up 4.6 percentage points since 2014 ▼down 1.6 percentage points since 2014

Females were more likely than males to be undertaking an apprenticeship in food trade or hairdressing.

Males were more likely than females to be undertaking an apprenticeship in automotive and engineering mechanics, bricklaying, carpentry and joinery or as an electrician.

For those doing a traineeship
What type of traineeships?
25.7%
Childcare
17.5%
Sales person or assistant
7.7 %
General clerk
▲ up 10.5 percentage points since 2014 ▼ down 7.4 percentage points since 2014 ▼ down 0.4 percentage points since 2014

Females were more likely than males to be undertaking a traineeship as a general clerk.

Males were more likely than females to be undertaking a traineeship as a farm, forestry or garden worker.

In employment

9.8%
Full-time work
15.2%
Part-time work
▲ up 1.5 percentage points since 2014 ▲ up 3.0 percentage points since 2014

One-quarter (25.0%) of 2018 early school leavers were employed and not in education in 2019. Participation in part-time employment has increased since 2014 but remains relatively unchanged from 2018.

Not in education, training or employment – Looking for work
15.7%
Looking for work
▼ down 1.5 percentage points since 2014

Not in education, training or employment – NILFETOne-in-six (15.7%) early school leavers were looking for work; down 1.5 percentage points since 2014 but up 2.8 percentage points since 2018.

Not in education, training or employment - NILFET

5.2%
NILFET
▼ down 1.2 percentage points since 2014

The proportion of 2018 early school leavers who were NILFET is also down since 2014, accounting for one-in-twenty (5.2%) early school leavers in 2019.

For those in employment
What jobs are they doing?
25.5%
Labourers
24.7%
Sales workers
20.8%
Community and personal service workers
▼ down 2.1 percentage points since 2014 ▼ down 7.0 percentage points since 2014 ▲ up 4.5 percentage points since 2014

Females were more likely than males to be working as community, and personal services workers, sales workers, or clerical and admin workers.

Males were more likely than females to be working as labourers or machinery operators and drivers.

For those not in the labour force, education and training
Main reason
26.2%
Recreation (incl. gap year, nothing)
19.5%
Unable to work due to illness
19.3%
Informal study or training
▼ down 2.2 percentage points since 2014 ▼ down 10.5 percentage points since 2014 ▼ down 4.0 percentage points since 2014

Among those not in the labour force, education or training, there were no differences in the broad main activity categories for males and females.

Males were however, more likely than females to report recreational activities as their main activity.

For those who deferred further education

One-in-twenty (5.3%) of early school leavers who were NILFET indicated they were enrolled in a course of study but had deferred it.

Other cohorts had deferred at a similar rate:

  • 3.6% full-time employment.
  • 4.7% part-time employment.
  • 4.8% looking for work.

What are the subgroup differences in destinations?

Females students were more likely than male students to be:

  • Bachelor degree
  • VET certificate IV+
  • VET certificate III
  • VET certificate I-II
  • Traineeship
  • Part-time work
  • NILFET.

Males students were more likely than female students to be undertaking an:

  • Apprenticeship.

Students who left school before the age of 17 years were more likely than those who left school aged 17 years or older to undertake a:

  • VET certificate IV+
  • Apprenticeship
  • Traineeship.

Students who left school aged 17 years or older were more likely than those who left school before the age of 17 years to be:

  • Bachelor degree
  • Full-time work
  • Part-time work
  • Looking for work
  • NILFET.

Government school students were more likely than non-Government school students to be:

  • Part-time work
  • Looking for work
  • NILFET.

Non-government school students were more likely than Government school students to undertake a:

  • Bachelor degree
  • VET certificate IV+
  • Apprenticeship.

Higher parental SES4 students more likely than lower parental SES more likely to undertake a:

  • Bachelor degree
  • VET certificate IV+
  • VET certificate I-II.

Lower parental SES students were more likely than higher parental SES to be:

  • Looking for work.

Students who speak a language other than English at home were more likely than those who do not to be:

  • VET certificate IV+
  • Looking for work.

Students who do not speak a language other than English at home were more likely than those who do to undertake an:

  • Apprenticeship
  • Traineeship.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students were more likely than non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to be:

  • Looking for work
  • NILFET.

Non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students were more likely than Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to:

  • VET certificate IV+
  • Apprenticeship.

Students living in Greater Sydney were more likely than students living in the rest of NSW to undertake a:

  • Bachelor degree
  • VET certificate IV+.

Students living in the rest of NSW were more likely than students living in Greater Sydney to:

  • VET certificate III
  • Part-time work.

Method

This report provides a brief overview of the main findings of the 2019 NSW Post-School Destinations and Experiences Survey. Several points should be kept in mind when considering the findings.

A total of ten post-school destinations are defined from responses to a number of items relating to participation in further education and current employment. This classification system is a hierarchical classification system, which prioritises education related post-school destinations over participation in employment. As such, it represents a young person's main destination since leaving school. A full discussion of the classification system can be found in the technical report.

All data are weighted to match relevant population parameters. 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” imply that a statistically significant difference at a 99 per cent confidence level has been established. This level has been used due to the large sample sizes.

In some cases values may differ from the apparent sum of their component elements. This is due to the effects of rounding.

Where appropriate, comparisons have been made to previous waves of this survey. 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 method, please refer to the 2019 technical report.

1 A total of ten post-school destinations are defined from responses to a number of items relating to participation in further education and current employment. This classification system is a hierarchical classification system, which prioritises education related post-schooldestinations 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 to and the selection process can be found in the Technical Report.

3 Parental socio-economic status (SES) is an individual measure of SES derived from students’ recollection of their parent(s) main occupation and highest level of education. Further information about its derivation can be found in the technical report.

4 Parental socio-economic status (SES) is an individual measure of SES derived from students’ recollection of their parent(s) main occupation and highest level of education. For the descriptive results presented throughout this report, this measure was divided into halves. Further information about its derivation can be found in the technical report.

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