Australia: Sharp fall in graduates studying or training in year after school - PressFrom - Australia
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AustraliaSharp fall in graduates studying or training in year after school

16:16  23 may  2019
16:16  23 may  2019 Source:   msn.com

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Sharp fall in graduates studying or training in year after school© Rob Homer Cuts to TAFE have been blamed for fewer students choosing to study vocational certificates in the year after graduating school

The proportion of NSW year 12 graduates studying or training the year after they leave school has fallen to its lowest point this decade, driven by a steady decline in vocational education and improved job prospects.

A report on what NSW students did the year after graduation between 2010 and 2017 found that the proportion entering university or vocational education peaked in 2015, but declined sharply in the two years afterwards to the lowest level since data was first collected in 2010.

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Critics blame that on cuts to the TAFE sector, but others point to an improving job market boosting the number of students engaged in full- or part-time work.

In 2017, 50 per cent of graduates were working towards a bachelor's degree - the second-lowest result in the seven years covered by the survey - and 9.4 per cent were studying for a VET certificate, a drop of more than six per cent on 2010.

The proportion of graduates employed in full time or part-time work in 2017 was at its highest level since 2010. Students doing nothing grew from one to three per cent, but most of those were on gap years, or doing informal training, or ill.

Some 22 per cent were working full or part time, a steady increase since 2013, when the figure was just 18.5 per cent. The proportion doing an apprenticeship was the highest in the survey at 5.8 per cent, up from a low of 4.6 per cent in 2013.

Sharp fall in graduates studying or training in year after school

Sharp fall in graduates studying or training in year after school Better job prospects and cuts to TAFE are behind the sharp reduction in year 12 graduates studying or training in the year after school.

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Graduating high school early can mean you enroll full-time at a new school , or you might just enroll in a few classes. Gap years , where students take a year or so off from school to travel, work, or have another experience, are becoming increasingly popular among high school and college-aged students.

Among students who did not finish year 12, a third became apprentices, a quarter were working part or full time, and 6.3 per cent neither worked nor studied in 2017, the report, NSW Secondary Students’ Post-School Destinations and Expectations, found.

Of the women in the latter group, a third were looking after children or preparing to give birth.

Craig Robinson, the chief executive of TAFE directors Australia, said part of the shift from TAFE was likely due to students moving to universities. But a failure by TAFE to teach the kind of courses that attract students was also a factor.

"The VET qualifications are not meeting the aspirations of students," he said. "I suspect our qualifications are not suited to young people.

"We do qualifications like retail, hospitality, commercial cookery.

"Students are probably saying, 'I don't want to work in those industries because they are hard work'. There needs to be, in my view, autonomy and flexibility given to TAFEs to develop qualifications that will attract young people.

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For recent university graduates like 24- year -old Moon Ye-won, the stakes are particularly high this year as she enters Moon graduated with a double major in economics and Spanish. After doing an internship with a Korean company in Iran, she now works part-time at Starbucks, and is preparing job

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"There is a lot of people interested in doing technology courses, there is a lot of people interested in doing entrepreneurship courses, and who want to start their own business."

NSW Teachers Federation President Maurie Mulheron said the falling enrolments in vocational education reflected budget cuts to TAFE that were made as part of an overhaul of the funding model in NSW in 2015.

Amid those cuts, TAFE also lost the outreach officers that would liaise with schools.

"Kids didn't suddenly overnight decide they didn't want to do a vocationally-oriented course, there's been a significant shift in policy settings that's led to this," he said.

"We have anecdotally been told by a lot of principals that, once, you could actually ring up your local TAFE and connect students that were in danger of dropping out. All of that has gone. That's a serious factor that has to be looked at."

Program director of higher education at the Grattan Institute Andrew Norton said the decline in vocational education could be reversed once the NSW government delivered on its election promise to fund 100,000 free TAFE places over four years.

A drop in the number of people doing bachelor degrees - 69.9 per cent in 2017 compared with 75.2 per cent in 2015 - could be attributed to a short-term reduction of interest in higher education, Mr Norton said.

"A substantial portion of people do not have clear reasons why they are at university," he said. "They are doing it because their parents want it rather than having a specific idea about what they want to do. If they can get a job, they would probably prefer that."

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