Post-school Education

Post-school (or tertiary) education can lead to qualifications through the vocational education and training (VET) sector, primarily at the certificate I to advanced diploma level (although some VET providers now offer degree courses) or the university (higher education) sector, which offers mainly bachelor degree and higher qualifications.

The number of university enrolments increased strongly over the decade to 2014 (up by 43%), well above the growth in VET enrolments (13%).

Over the two years to 2014, VET enrolments fell by 7%, while university enrolments continued to rise (up by 10%). There are, though, significantly larger numbers of students enrolled in the VET sector than in universities (1.8 million, compared with 1.0 million).

More young people are undertaking post-school education

The number of young people undertaking tertiary study has increased over the past 10 years, with markedly stronger growth in university enrolments (up by 50%) than in VET (16%).

  • In 2014, there were 727,800 people younger than 25 years enrolled in VET and 625,700 enrolled at university.
  • Young people comprise a larger share of university enrolments (61%), than they do for VET (41%).

Female enrolments are rising strongly

Female participation in tertiary study has risen in both the university and VET sectors.

Over the 10 years to 2014, female university enrolments rose more strongly than those for males (up by 46% compared with 39%).

Females enrolled in VET courses increased by 14% over the 10 years to 2014. There was 13% growth in male enrolments. There are, though, more males enrolled (914,800 compared with 837,900 females).

University student enrolments, by gender (‘000)

This column graph shows university student enrolments from 2004 to 2014, by gender. Over the ten years, enrolments have been steadily increasing. In 2004, there were 406,000 female student enrolments and 311,000 male student enrolments. In 2005, there were 409,000 female student enrolments and 308,000 male student enrolments. In 2006, there were 420,000 female student enrolments and 313,000 male student enrolments. In 2007, there were 436,000 female student enrolments and 321,000 male student enrolments. In 2008, there were 446,000 female student enrolments and 325,000 male student enrolments. In 2009, there were 472,000 female student enrolments and 342,000 male student enrolments. In 2010, there were 497,000 female student enrolments and 360,000 male student enrolments. In 2011, there were 514,000 female student enrolments and 373,000 male student enrolments. In 2012, there were 540,000 female student enrolments and 392,000 male student enrolments. In 2013, there were 570,000 female student enrolments and 415,000 male student enrolments. In 2014, there were 594,000 female student enrolments and 432,000 male student enrolments.

VET enrolments, by gender (‘000)

This column graph shows VET student enrolments from 2004 to 2014, by gender. Enrolments have been slightly variable year on year, but peaked in 2012 and have since fallen. In 2004, there were 735,000 female student enrolments and 811,000 male student enrolments. In 2005, there were 754,000 female student enrolments and 825,000 male student enrolments. In 2006, there were 759,000 female student enrolments and 852,000 male student enrolments. In 2007, there were 755,000 female student enrolments and 838,000 male student enrolments. In 2008, there were 769,000 female student enrolments and 857,000 male student enrolments. In 2009, there were 766,000 female student enrolments and 860,000 male student enrolments. In 2010, there were 816,000 female student enrolments and 908,000 male student enrolments. In 2011, there were 874,000 female student enrolments and 944,000 male student enrolments. In 2012, there were 912,000 female student enrolments and 978,000 male student enrolments. In 2013, there were 871,000 female student enrolments and 950,000 male student enrolments. In 2014, there were 838,000 female student enrolments and 915,000 male student enrolments.

Sources: Department of Education and Training, Higher Education Statistics; GCA, Graduate Salaries; NCVER, Government-Funded Student Outcomes; NCVER, Government-Funded Students and Courses