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Skills and Capability5.1 Education and Workforce

5.1.1 Proportion of population (aged 15-74) with educational attainment by level of qualification

The progression from secondary education to both tertiary academic studies and vocational qualifications is an important transition towards the formation of specialised skills and capabilities in a variety of fields and disciplines. The four most commonly attained qualifications --- Year 10 or below, Year 12 or equivalent, Certificate III/IV and Bachelor degree --- are all represented in roughly equal proportions of the adult population with an education (between 18-19 per cent in 2018). The change from 2009 to 2018 has been generally positive from the perspective of skill formation in the economy, with fewer adults terminating their education after Year 10 or below or Year 12 or equivalent and more of them continuing on to complete a Certificate III/IV or higher levels of qualification. The highest levels of qualification such as a Postgraduate degree are still relatively less common (6.4 per cent of the adult population with an education in 2018) although this has also increased notably since 2009.[129]

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5.1.2 Proportion of persons (aged 15-74) with non-school qualifications by field of study

Decisions regarding the field of study may be guided by many factors. Among these are the personal aspirations of individuals, their previous experience or education assessment results, and their perceptions of the prospects for future employment in their chosen field. In 2018, the top three successfully attained fields of study represented in the adult population with non-school qualifications in Australia were Management and commerce (22.8 per cent), Engineering and related technologies (16.8 per cent) and Society and culture (14.8 per cent). The proportions of different fields of study represented in the adult population with non-school qualifications remained broadly constant between 2015 and 2018.[130]

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5.1.3 Proportion of population (aged 15-64) studying for a non-school qualification by field of study

Society and culture as a field of study is attracting the highest proportions of the adult population in non-school studies (22.0 per cent in 2018), closely followed by Management and commerce (20.5 per cent in 2018). Both these fields of study were the popular choices ten years ago, except in the reverse order with Management and commerce coming out ahead of Society and culture (25.2 per cent and 17.7 per cent in 2008, respectively). Other fields of study experiencing notable changes were Health, which has increased in popularity among adults pursuing non-school qualifications (from 10.8 per cent to 14.9 per cent of adults in non-school studies) between 2008 and 2018, and Engineering and related technologies, which has declined over the same period (from 12.2 per cent to 9.3 per cent of adults in non-school studies).[131]

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5.1.4 Apprentices and trainees (aged 15-64) by field of trade

A complex economy presupposes a diversity of skills and capabilities applied creatively to solving human problems, including not only academic but also vocational qualifications, in particular apprentices and trainees. Among those aged 15-64 years who identified as being an apprentice or trainee in 2018 the most common field of trade was Construction (32.4 per cent). Besides being the most commonly reported field of trade, Construction has returned to an increasing trend in the share of apprentices and trainees between 2012 and 2018 (up from 20.0 per cent in 2012, following a fall from 26.6 per cent in 2011). Other popular fields of trade include Automotive and engineering and Electrotechnology and telecommunications (19.9 per cent and 17.1 per cent respectively of apprentices and trainees in 2018).[132] The ABS Survey of Education and Work reports fewer people undertaking apprentices and trainees than the National Centre for Vocational Education Research Apprentices and Trainees statistical collection.

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5.1.5 Apprentices and trainees (aged 15-64) with vocational qualification by current industry

Vocational qualifications are most effective when they broadly match individuals' industry of employment. In 2018, around 44.1 per cent of those who identified as being an apprentice or trainee worked in the Construction industry, which aligns with the field of trade. The group of Other Services industries (which excludes Accommodation and Food Services) employed 21.1 per cent of apprentices and trainees in 2018, followed by Manufacturing at 10.5 per cent. The overall share across industries of apprentices and trainees has not changed significantly between 2011 and 2018.[133] The ABS Survey of Education and Work reports fewer people undertaking apprentices and trainees than the National Centre for Vocational Education Research Apprentices and Trainees statistical collection.

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