Aboriginal Year 12 completers and early school leavers

This report was originally published 26 October 2021.

This fact sheet provides a high‑level overview of findings from the 2020 NSW Secondary Students’ Post-School Destinations and Experiences Survey relating to two different cohorts of Aboriginal recent school leavers: Year 12 completers and early school leavers.

This fact sheet was produced in collaboration with the Aboriginal Outcomes and Partnerships Directorate.

Survey sample

  • In 2020, 1,122 Aboriginal Year 12 completers and 694 Aboriginal early school leavers completed the survey.
  • For non-Aboriginal students, 17,743 Year 12 completers and 5,284 early school leavers also completed the survey in 2020.
  • Sociodemographic characteristics were similar between Aboriginal survey completers and non-completers, indicating that survey findings are representative of the population of Aboriginal recent school leavers.
  • Response rates for both cohorts have remained fairly stable from 2014 to 2020. The response rates have ranged from 43.2% to 51.2% for Aboriginal Year 12 completers and 21% to 29.4% for Aboriginal early school leavers.

Post-school destinations of Aboriginal school leavers in 2020

In 2020, 79.6% of Aboriginal Year 12 completers and 63.4% of Aboriginal early school leavers were in education, training or employment.

Horizontal bar chart showing that among Aboriginal Year 12 completers in 2020, 47 percent were in education or training, 32.6 percent were in employment, 15.5 percent were looking for work, and 5 percent were not in the labour force, education or training, NILFET.   Horizontal bar chart showing that among Aboriginal early school leavers in 2020, 37.7 percent were in education or training, 25.7 percent were in employment, 28.8 percent were looking for work, and 7.8 percent were NILFET.

Post-school destinations of non-Aboriginal school leavers in 2020

In 2020, 89.4% of non-Aboriginal Year 12 completers and 78.7% of non-Aboriginal early school leavers were in education, training or employment.

Horizontal bar chart showing that among non-Aboriginal Year 12 in 2020, 62.7 percent were in education and training, 26.7 percent were in employment, 7.4 percent were looking for work, and 3.3 percent were NILFET.  Horizontal bar chart showing that among non-Aboriginal early school leavers in 2020, 53.3 percent were in education or training, 25.4 percent were in employment, 15.6 percent were looking for work, and 5.7 percent were NILFET.

Post-school destinations of Aboriginal Year 12 completers in 2020

21.1%
Bachelor
4.7%
VET Cert IV+
6.1%
VET Cert III
1.3%
VET Cert I-II
▼ down 2.0 percentage points since 2014 ▼ down 2.2 percentage points since 2014 no change since 2014 ▼ down 3.2 percentage points since 2014
6.6%
Apprenticeship
7.2%
Traineeship
10.1%
Full-time work
22.5%
Part-time work
▲ up 2.2 percentage points since 2014 ▼ down 1.2 percentage points since 2014
no change since 2014
▲ up 4.7 percentage points since 2014
The proportion of Aboriginal Year 12 completers in education or training has decreased since 2014, while the proportion of Aboriginal Year 12 completers in employment has remained stable since 2014.
There were no differences in the post-school destinations of Aboriginal Year 12 completers between 2019 and 2020.

Post-school destinations of Aboriginal early school leavers in 2020

0.3%
Bachelor
3.3%
VET Cert IV+
6.7%
VET Cert III
2.9%
VET Cert I-II
no change since 2014 ▼ down 0.3 percentage points since 2014 ▲ up 0.3 percentage points since 2014 ▼ down 8.3 percentage points since 2014
17.8%
Apprenticeship
6.8%
Traineeship
8.4%
Full-time work
17.3%
Part-time work
▲ up 4.3 percentage points since 2014 ▲ up 2.0 percentage points since 2014 ▲ up 5.2 percentage points since 2014 ▲ up 6.0 percentage points since 2014
The proportion of Aboriginal early school leavers in employment has increased since 2014, while the proportion of Aboriginal early school leavers looking for work has decreased since 2014.
There were no differences in the post-school destinations of Aboriginal early school leavers between 2019 and 2020.

In education or training

The proportion of:

  • Aboriginal Year 12 completers
  • non-Aboriginal Year 12 completers
  • non-Aboriginal early school leavers

in education or training has decreased over time.

The proportion of Aboriginal early school leavers in education or training has remained stable over time.

A line chart showing the proportion of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal school leavers in education or training from 2014 to 2020. There are four series in the chart, representing Aboriginal Year 12 completers, non-Aboriginal Year 12 completers, Aboriginal early school leavers, and non-Aboriginal early school leavers.

Education changes

Aboriginal Year 12 completers

  • 7.5 percentage point decrease entering business and management studies since 2014 (from 11.7% to 4.2%).

Aboriginal early school leavers

  • 6.0 percentage point decrease entering business and management studies since 2014 (from 9.7% to 3.7%).
  • 5.3 percentage point increase entering building studies since 2014 (from 10.3% to 15.6%).

In employment

The proportion of:

  • Aboriginal early school leavers
  • non-Aboriginal Year 12 completers
  • non-Aboriginal early school leavers

in employment has increased over time.

The proportion of Aboriginal Year 12 completers in employment has remained stable over time.

A line chart showing the proportion of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal school leavers in employment from 2014 to 2020. There are four series in the chart, representing Aboriginal Year 12 completers, non-Aboriginal Year 12 completers, Aboriginal early school leavers, and non-Aboriginal early school leavers.

Employment changes:

Aboriginal Year 12 completers

  • 4.7 percentage point decrease entering a sales assistants and salespersons role since 2014 (from 23.5% to 18.8%).
  • There was a 6.0 percentage point decrease in hospitality workers between 2019 and 2020 (from 18.2% to 12.2%).

Aboriginal early school leavers

  • 5.2 percentage point increase in sales support workers between 2019 and 2020 (from 8.3% to 13.5%).

What are the subgroup differences in destinations of Aboriginal Year 12 completers and early school leavers?

Year 12 completers

Females more likely to be in a:

  • bachelor degree
  • VET certificate IV+
  • VET certificate III.

Males more likely to be in an:

  • apprenticeship
  • full-time work.

Students with higher parental SES* more likely to be in a:

  • bachelor degree.

Students with lower parental SES more likely to be in a:

  • VET certificate III.

Government school students more likely to be:

  • looking for work.

Non-government school students more likely to be in a:

  • bachelor degree.

Students living in Greater Sydney more likely to be in a:

  • bachelor degree.

Students living in the Rest of NSW more likely to be in a:

  • VET certificate III.
Top 5 areas of education Aboriginal Year 12 completers entered post-school in 2020:
  1. Teacher education
  2. Nursing
  3. Human welfare studies and services
  4. Business and management
  5. Biological sciences.
Top 5 work roles Aboriginal Year 12 completers entered post‑school in 2020:
  1. Sales assistants and salespersons
  2. Hospitality workers
  3. Sales support workers
  4. Storepersons
  5. Carers and aides.

Early school leavers

Males more likely to be in an:

  • apprenticeship.

Students with lower parental SES more likely to be:

  • looking for work.

Government school students more likely to be:

  • VET certificate I-II.
There were no significant differences between students living in Greater Sydney or the Rest of NSW.
Top 5 areas of education Aboriginal early school leavers entered post-school in 2020:
  1. Building
  2. Human welfare studies and services
  3. Food and hospitality
  4. Automotive engineering and technology
  5. Mechanical and industrial engineering and technology.
Top 5 work roles Aboriginal early school leavers entered post‑school in 2020:
  1. Sales support workers
  2. Sales assistants and salespersons
  3. Food preparation assistants
  4. Hospitality workers
  5. Farm, forestry and garden workers.
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