The Pathways for the Future Program

The Pathways for the Future Program aims to improve the effectiveness of the education and training system to better prepare our students as lifelong learners and equip them with the knowledge, skills and attributes for meaningful work and life.

The program is developing a pioneering 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 data 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 dataset 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. This will involve working with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community to uphold Indigenous data sovereignty and learn from each other to develop a better shared understanding of pathways of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. The Pathways data 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.


Before undertaking any analysis relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status, ethics approval will be sought from an ethics body with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander expertise. Data on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students will not be used or analysed without community consultation, engagement and ethics approval.


How your data is used

All outputs of the program are aggregated and de-identified to minimise the risk of reidentification. The Pathways dataset 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 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 Pathways dataset.

Your personal information will be disclosed to our program partners for linkage purposes during the creation of the Pathways dataset. 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, (including data from 1996 to 2016), or as part of the 2017 to 2020 data refresh. The withdrawal period for the last refresh ran from 24 September to 7 February 2022, and the department is no longer able to remove individual records because the data has been de-identified.

The online form to withdraw your data will open again before the next refresh, which is currently planned for the second half of 2022. If you have previously asked to have your data withdrawn from the Pathways dataset, your data will also be removed from the next refresh, so you do not need to complete this form again.


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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