Education Enrolments

Vocational Education and Training (VET)

VET provides a range of qualifications, including certificates and diplomas. A qualification can take three months to three years.

Graphic shows that there were 3.4 million VET program enrolments in 2017, including 195,800 certificate 1 enrolments, 599,600 certificate 2 enrolments, 996,100 certificate 3 enrolments, 455,300 certificate 4 enrolments, 512,600 diploma or higher enrolments and 627,300 non-AQF qualification enrolments.

What subject areas are available?

VET offers study options across all fields of education. The largest numbers of students are in Management and Commerce and Engineering and Related Technologies.

VET program enrolments, by field of education and age, 2017 (‘000)

Apprenticeships and Traineeships

Apprenticeships and traineeships are a form of skills development that combine paid on-the-job work with training. They provide a nationally recognised VET qualification as well as relevant work experience.

Reflecting how highly valued workplace experience is by employers, apprentices and trainees generally have strong graduate employment outcomes.

There were 269,700 apprentices and trainees in training at June 2018, working across more than 300 different occupations, including many non-trade occupations.

Occupations in which apprentices and trainees most commonly work

Technicians and Trades Workers

64% of apprentices and trainees

Most common jobs:

  • Electricians
  • Carpenters and Joiners
  • Motor Mechanics
  • Plumbers
  • Cooks and Chefs

Community and Personal Service Workers

12% of apprentices and trainees

Most common jobs:

  • Child Carers
  • Hospitality Workers
  • Tourism and Travel Advisors
  • Nursing Support and Personal Care Workers
  • Welfare Support Workers

Machinery Operators and Drivers

7% of apprentices and trainees

Most common jobs:

  • Storepersons
  • Earthmoving Plant Operators
  • Drillers, Miners and Shot Firers
  • Truck Drivers

Higher Education

Universities offer courses at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels, including associate degrees, bachelor degrees, masters and PhD qualifications. The vast majority of students study at the bachelor degree level (71% in 2017). Higher education usually involves a commitment to at least three years of full-time equivalent study to attain a bachelor degree, but many courses involve longer periods of education.

There were 1.08 million domestic students enrolled in higher education in 2017 (up by 43% over the past decade)

What subject areas are available?

The higher education sector provides training in all fields of education, but the largest numbers of enrolments are in Society and Culture (289,000 enrolments in 2017), which is a diverse field of education including studies in law, psychology, human welfare and society, language and linguistics, economics and sport and recreation.

Further information on higher education enrolments can be found at education.gov.au/higher-education-statistics.

Higher education enrolments, by field of education

Higher education enrolments, by field of education
2017 enrolments
 ('000)
10 year change
 / %
Society and Culture 289.0 43%
Health 215.7 92%
Management and Commerce 188.0 15%
Education 120.1 29%
Natural and Physical Sciences 101.2 55%
Creative Arts 79.7 41%
Engineering and Related Technologies 66.5 35%
Information Technology 36.3 39%
Architecture and Building 25.7 38%
Agriculture Environmental and Related Studies 13.8 -5%
All fields of education1 1081.8 43%

1. Total includes some mixed field and non-award courses

Sources: NCVER, Total VET Students and Courses; NCVER, Apprentices and Trainees; NCVER; VET Student Outcomes; Department of Education and Training, Higher Education Statistics

For more information see training.gov.au and education.gov.au/higher-education-statistics