Year 12 completers and early school leavers living in the Rest of NSW

This report was originally published 26 October 2021.

This fact sheet provides a high-level overview of findings from the 2020 NSW Post-School Destinations and Experiences Survey relating to two different cohorts of NSW recent school leavers living in areas outside of Greater Sydney: Year 12 completers and early school leavers.

We use a binary region variable comprising categories ‘Greater Sydney’ and ‘Rest of NSW’ throughout this fact sheet. For more information about this region variable, refer to page 5.

Survey sample

There were 24,842 recent school leavers who completed the survey in 2020. Of these:

  • 7,517 Year 12 completers and 3,086 early school leavers were living in the Rest of NSW.
  • 11,348 Year 12 completers and 2,892 early school leavers were living in Greater Sydney.

Post-school destinations of school leavers living in the Rest of NSW in 2020

Of the recent school leavers living in the Rest of NSW in 2020, 89.0% of Year 12 completers and 78.1% of early school leavers were in education, training or employment.

Horizontal bar chart showing the post-school destinations of Year 12 completers living in the rest of NSW. 51.9 percent of these Year 12 completers were in education and training, 37.1 percent were in employment, 7.9 percent were looking for work and 3.1 percent were NILFET, which means not in the labour force, education or training.
Image: Year 12 completers
Horizontal bar chart showing the post-school destinations of Early school leavers living in the rest of NSW. 49.7 percent of these Early school leavers were in education and training, 28.4 percent were in employment, 16.3 percent were looking for work and 5.6 percent were NILFET, which means not in the labour force, education or training.
Image: Early school leavers

* NILFET means not in the labour force, education or training.

Post-school destinations of school leavers living in Greater Sydney in 2020

Of the recent school leavers living in Greater Sydney in 2020, 89.0% of Year 12 completers and 75.4% of early school leavers were in education, training or employment.

Horizontal bar chart showing the post-school destinations of Year 12 completers living in Greater Sydney. 66.5 percent of these Year 12 completers were in education and training, 22.4 percent were in employment, 7.6 percent were looking for work and 3.4 percent were NILFET, which means not in the labour force, education or training.
Image: Year 12 completers
Horizontal bar chart showing the post-school destinations of Early school leavers living in Greater Sydney. 53.2 percent of these Early school leavers were in education and training, 22.2 percent were in employment, 18.3 percent were looking for work and 6.4 percent were NILFET, which means not in the labour force, education or training.
Image: Early school leavers

Post-school destinations of Year 12 completers living in the Rest of NSW in 2020

30.2%
Bachelor
4.2%
VET Cert IV+
4.0%
VET Cert III
1.4%
VET Cert I-II
▼ down 4.0 percentage points since 2014 ▼ down 3.6 percentage points since 2014 ▲ up 1.0 percentage points since 2014 ▼ down 1.5 percentage points since 2014

6.2%
Apprenticeship
5.9%
Traineeship
13.2%
Full-time work
23.9%
Part-time work
▼ down 1.8 percentage points since 2014 ▼ down 0.5 percentage points since 2014 ▲ up 3.6 percentage points since 2014 ▲ up 4.4 percentage points since 2014
The proportion of Year 12 completers living in the Rest of NSW who enter employment has increased over time, while the proportion entering education and training has decreased over time.

Post-school destinations of early school leavers living in the Rest of NSW in 2020

1.0%
Bachelor
4.1%
VET Cert IV+
8.4%
VET Cert III
2.8%
VET Cert I-II
▲ up 0.4 percentage points since 2014 ▼ down 1.2 percentage points since 2014 ▲ up 0.8 percentage points since 2014 ▼ down 5.3 percentage points since 2014

26.5%
Apprenticeship
6.9%
Traineeship
10.4%
Full-time work
18.1%
Part-time work
▲ up 1.2 percentage points since 2014 ▼ down 0.4 percentage points since 2014 ▲ up 1.5 percentage points since 2014 ▲ up 4.8 percentage points since 2014
The proportion of early school leavers living in the Rest of NSW who enter employment has increased over time, while the proportion in education and training has decreased over time.

In education or training

The proportion of:

  • Year 12 completers living in the Rest of NSW
  • early school leavers living in the Rest of NSW
  • Greater Sydney Year 12 completers
  • Greater Sydney early school leavers

in education or training has decreased over time.

Horizontal line chart showing the proportion of school leavers in education and training from 2014 to 2020. There are four series in the chart, representing Year 12 completers from Greater Sydney, Year 12 completers from the rest of NSW, Early school leavers from Greater Sydney and Early school leavers from the rest of NSW. Between 2014 and 2020, the proportion of school leavers in all four groups who are in education or training has decreased over time.

Education changes:

Year 12 completers living in the Rest of NSW

  • There were no differences in the areas of education Year 12 completers living in the Rest of NSW have entered since 2014.

Early school leavers living in the Rest of NSW

  • 4.1 percentage point decrease in general education programs since 2014 (from 6.2% to 2.2%).

In employment

The proportion of:

  • Year 12 completers living in the Rest of NSW
  • early school leavers living in the Rest of NSW
  • Greater Sydney Year 12 completers
  • Greater Sydney early school leavers

in education has increased over time.

Horizontal line chart showing the proportion of school leavers in employment from 2014 to 2020. There are four series in the chart, representing Year 12 completers from Greater Sydney, Year 12 completers from the rest of NSW, Early school leavers from Greater Sydney and Early school leavers from the rest of NSW. Between 2014 and 2020, the proportion of school leavers in all four groups who are in employment has increased over time.

Employment changes:

Year 12 completers living in the Rest of NSW

  • 4.9 percentage point decrease in entering a sales support worker role since 2014 (from 12.9% to 8.0% of employed completers).

Early school leavers living in the Rest of NSW

  • 5.5 percentage point decrease in entering a sales support worker role since 2014 (from 14.8% to 9.3%).
  • 4.4 percentage point decrease in entering a sales assistants and salespersons role since 2014 (from 18.4% to 14.0%).

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

Year 12 completers

Females more likely to be in a:

  • bachelor degree
  • VET certificate III
  • traineeship.

Males more likely to be in an:

  • apprenticeship
  • full-time work
  • looking for 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
  • apprenticeship
  • looking for work
  • NILFET.

Government school students more likely to be:

  • VET certificate III
  • part-time work
  • looking for work
  • NILFET.

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

  • bachelor degree.

Aboriginal students more likely to be in a:

  • VET certificate III
  • looking for work.

Non-Aboriginal students more likely to be in a:

  • bachelor degree.
Top 5 areas of education Year 12 completers living in the Rest of NSW entered post-school in 2020:
  1. Teacher education
  2. Nursing
  3. Business and management
  4. Biological sciences
  5. Law.
Top 5 work roles Year 12 completers living in the Rest of NSW entered post-school in 2020:
  1. Sales assistants and salespersons
  2. Hospitality workers
  3. Sales support workers
  4. Food preparation assistants
  5. Storepersons.

Early school leavers

Females more likely to be in a:

  • bachelor degree
  • VET certificate IV+
  • VET certificate III
  • traineeship
  • part-time work
  • NILFET.

Males more likely to be in an:

  • apprenticeship.

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

  • VET certificate IV+
  • apprenticeship.

Students with lower parental SES more likely to be in:

  • full-time work
  • looking for work.

Government school students more likely to be:

  • looking for work
  • NILFET.

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

  • VET certificate IV+
  • apprenticeship.

Aboriginal students more likely to be:

  • looking for work.

Non-Aboriginal students more likely to be in an:

  • apprenticeship

* SES means socio-economic status.

Top 5 areas of education early school leavers living in the Rest of NSW entered post-school in 2020:
  1. Building
  2. Automotive engineering and technology
  3. Human welfare studies and services
  4. Mechanical and industrial engineering and technology
  5. Electrical and electronic engineering and technology.
Top 5 work roles early school leavers living in the Rest of NSW entered post-school in 2020:
  1. Sales assistants and salespersons
  2. Food preparation assistants
  3. Hospitality workers
  4. Sales support workers
  5. Construction and mining labourers.

Defining Greater Sydney and the Rest of NSW

Map of NSW highlighting the Greater Sydney region.

The region variable used in this fact sheet was constructed from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) standard category, ‘Statistical Area 4 groupings’ (SA4 groupings), and the Greater Capital City Statistical Areas (GCCSA) classification. The department uses the 11-group SA4 groupings category for reporting and publishing its own data (NSW Government, 2020*). To increase interpretability the ABS also assigns these 11 groups to 2 categories: ‘Greater Sydney’ and ‘Rest of NSW’ (that is, outside of Greater Sydney).

* NSW Government (2020) NSW government schools by remoteness and SA4 grouping (2014-2019), NSW Education Data Hub website, accessed 28 January 2021.

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