The Pathways for the Future Program


The Pathways for the Future Operational Data Asset is a nation-first linked dataset that brings together de-identified demographic, education, and employment data to provide a comprehensive understanding of how young people move through education and into work.

The Operational Data Asset will provide a robust evidence-base for improving, shaping and evaluating government policies and programs, as well as operating the education system. The data will be used across the department to:

  • identify the barriers and drivers of effective education and employment outcomes
  • support students and learners to make better-informed decisions about their studies and careers
  • evaluate the effectiveness of government policies and programs
  • shape policy development and targeted interventions for students who may be experiencing additional barriers to education and employment.

You can find more information about the program here.


The Pathways Operational Data Asset has powerful potential to support key priorities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and learners

The program is currently developing a stream of work aimed specifically at supporting key priorities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and learners. The Pathways Operational Data Asset could be used to identify enablers and barriers and to develop and evaluate programs aimed at improving outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.

An application to an ethics body with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander expertise is underway. No analysis on data relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status will be undertaken before ethics approval is received.

Subject to ethics approval, the Pathways Operational Data Asset has powerful potential to support a number of key priorities in relation to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and learners, such as:

Potential uses of the Operational Data Asset for improving outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students will be further developed through consultation.


Community consultation and engagement

Consultation on the use of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander data for the Pathways project will be led by the Aboriginal Outcomes and Partnerships team within the Department of Education.The focus of this consultation will be to:

  • engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities on the uses, benefits, and any risks in analysing or disseminating the Pathways data
  • apply an Indigenous lens to the analysis
  • explore the diversity and nuance in the experiences and pathways of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.

Data relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status will not be analysed or disseminated until this consultation has been undertaken and ethics approval has been received from an ethics body with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander expertise.


How to withdraw your data from the program

All outputs of the Operational Data Asset is aggregated and de-identified to minimise the risk of reidentification. It includes information on people who attended secondary school, and people who undertook a vocational education and training qualification, an apprenticeship, traineeship or higher education qualification in NSW. You can find more information about the type of information being included in the Operational Data Asset here.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status will remain masked in the data until ethics approval has been granted. However, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and learners are included in the broader cohort of students that make up the Operational Data Asset.

Your personal information will be disclosed to our program partners for linkage purposes during the creation of the Operational Data Asset. This will be done securely by The Centre for Health Record Linkage (CHeReL) and the ABS and your personal information will be kept separate from the rest of the data. More information on the linkage process can be found here.

It is not possible to identify and remove your data if it has already been linked and de-identified as part of the Pathways Pilot Program, which also ran a withdrawal process. This includes data from 1996 to 2016. Find more information about the Pathways Pilot Program here

However, you can have your data removed from any new datasets being added from the 2017 to 2020 data refresh and new data sets from 1996 to 2016.

If you wish to have your data removed before it is linked to create the Operational Data Asset, please complete this short online form by 30 October 2021. After this date, your data will be linked and de-identified as part of the Operational Data Asset and the department will be unable to process further requests to remove individual records.


Contact us

If you have any questions about the Pathways program, you can contact the team at Pathways.Project@det.nsw.edu.au.

More information in relation to the department's management of privacy can also be found on the Privacy information and forms page.

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