ONLY about 30% of students enrolling in a vocational education (VET) course complete a qualification. About 50% of trainees and apprentices complete their training. This has been constant now for many years.
On the face of it, these seem very poor outcomes, so questions need to be asked why, and whether these could be improved.
An immediate reaction is to blame the training providers – that is, students drop out of their course because it’s not engaging or relevant to their needs. Surveys with students dropping out reveals their reasons:
In a study called Lifting the Lid, the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) found that although there was a low qualification completion rate, about 80% students complete individual units within a course. There is also some variation in completion rates for those students under 25 years old and all students, and across different Certificate levels and industries. Even defining a completion rate in VET is complicated.
All of this is revealed in an interview with Sandra Pattison, who is General Manager of Statistics at NCVER. In the interview, Sandra refers to another study Student Outcomes 2011 that is also available from NCVER.
Sandra Interview Part 1: How are completion rates measured? [5:18]
Sandra Interview Part 2: Is completing a qualification better than completing part of a course? [3:12]
Sandra Interview Part 3: Are the completion rates too low? [8:00]