Home AATIS Blog An Introduction to VET and Australian Apprenticeships Data


An Introduction to VET and Australian Apprenticeships Data

There is a lot of data available related to the VET and Australian Apprenticeships sectors and more broadly, around the employment market. During OctoberVET 2020, held by the Australasian Vocational Education Research Assocation (AVETRA), AATIS hosted a webinar with NCVER to introduce users to the range of data available.

This webinar is now available on YouTube, and the slides can be downloaded from this page. You will find the webinar video, description and slides below.

During the webinar a large number of questions were received. Many were able to be answered during the session. This blog post expands on those questions to give further information and links to resources.

Watch the webinar and download the slides

During this webinar, we familiarise attendees with key data sets including how to access the data and what key terms mean.

This video is intended for new researchers and VET stakeholders who are interested in discovering the range of data available across VET and Australian Apprenticeships. No prior knowledge of data is required.

This session was run by the Australian Apprenticeships and Traineeships Information Service (AATIS), with panellists from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER).

Download Slides


Latest VET Statistics

Where do I find information on Total VET Students and Courses data?

If you are looking for data on a specific qualification, occupation, training package or industry, Total VET Students and Courses is where you are likely to find it.

A number of data resources are available for this collection, including through the VOCSTATS databases. VOCSTATS allows users to build their own tables based on a range of data items. This includes:

  • Training provider attributes including location;
  • Client attributes including location and other demographics;
  • Training package and qualification; and
  • Occupation (ANZSCO) groups.

Other Total VET Students and Courses information is available on completion rates and international students. You can find all of the resources on the NCVER portal.

Data is also available as De-identified Unit Record Files (URF), which can be requested from NCVER. To find out more about this process and to apply for the data, take a look at the Accessing VET Data page.

What data is available on commencing enrolments?

Data on 'commencing enrolments' was previously available in the National VET Provider collection and Total VET Students and Courses. This flag was decommissioned due to data integrity and quality concerns making it difficult to validate. NCVER will be re-deriving the commencing program identifier/flag, however it is unable to confirm which reporting year this will be available in.

It is important to note that although enrolments may be commencing, this is unable to be identified. Therefore, each collection year is reporting all enrolments at the time (irrespective of their status).

What data is available on international students?

Data on international students, both those studying onshore in Australia and those studying offshore (internationally) with Australian RTOs, can be found in Total VET Students and Courses. The main publications include data on items such as 'international fee-for-service' funding.

The VOCSTATS databases for Total VET Students and Courses include data items on:

  • State/territory of delivery location: this includes a field for 'overseas';
  • Location of training delivery: this includes domestic, overseas, and mixed delivery locations;
  • Student status: international students and domestic students; and
  • Program funding source: under the no government funding attribute there is an international fee-for-service category.

You can also find information about international students through the 'International Students Data Visualisation' which can be accessed on the NCVER Portal.

There is no data on international students studying an Australian Apprenticeship in the Apprentice and Trainee collection.

Data on CRICOS providers can only be provided through direct data reports on select RTOs, through a data request. If such data is available, you should contact NCVER at vert_req@ncver.edu.au to discuss this.

What is the difference between Australian Apprentice data in the Total VET Students and Courses, and Apprentices and Trainees collections?

Data on Australian Apprentices is collected in both the Total VET Students and Courses collection, and the Apprentice and Trainee collection. Australian Apprentices will be counted in both collections, however the data is collected differently in each. The data can not be added together, and should not be directly compared.

The Apprentice and Trainee collection is based on the contract of training. As changes to the contract (including commencements, suspensions, cancellations, and completions) are approved through the State Training Authorities, data is recorded then submitted to NCVER. This data is therefore based on the contract, which includes data about the apprentice or trainee, employer, and qualification.

Data in the Total VET Students and Courses collection is based on data from RTOs. As apprentices and trainees undertake formal qualifications with an RTO, they are therefore counted in this collection. The RTO will record whether the student is an apprentice or trainee.

What is the VET Funding collection, and how is the data collected?

The NCVER provides an extensive VET Funding Collection detailing information about the flow and distrubition of government contributions that stimulate or support publicly subsidised VET activity in Australia.

Reporting for the VET Funding Collection comprises 3 separate data sets:

Jurisdictional contributions and allocations

This data set details all funding that is provided by state, territory and federal government VET portfolios to support VET that is publicly subsidised. It includes instances of recurrent and capital funding, intergovernmental transfers and government funds that are provided for VET and trade support loans.

Funding activities and distributions

This data set provides information on all public VET expenditure within a given jurisdiction but regardless of the source of funds. Instead of detailing by state (like the jurisdictional contributions and allocations data set), it categorises reporting according to type and etails how each activity is funded. There are five broad categories of VET funding activity:

  1. VET delivery funding;
  2. Employer assistance;
  3. Student assistance for equipment
  4. Incentives and wrap around services; and
  5. Capital funding, system administration and governance funding.

There are specific branch categories for reporting these broader categories, some of which are then split by a training characteristic (see diagram below).

Student and employer contributions to subsidised training and reporting of training characteristics will be phased in as implementation progresses.

Funding provided for VET student loans are reported separately. This is because the value of these loans are neither expenses nor represent a funding transfer.

Reporting includes direct and indirect funding for VET including employer incentive programs for workforce training.

Public VET asset base

This data set provides information on the value of public assets used for delivery of VET.

The below diagram represents what is included in the VET Funding Collection.

The new funding collection is being phased in over three years, with a subset of data collected and reported for 2017 and 2018, and full implementation for 2019. The framework for the new National VET Funding Collection was endorsed by VET Ministers in November 2017 with the agreed purpose that:

  • The National VET Funding Collection will deliver trusted and useful information on the allocation and
  • effective use of public VET funding that enables national transparency, accountability and policy development.
  • The new reporting framework will provide a comprehensive, fit-for-purpose overview of public VET funding in Australia, that allows for a broad alignment with VET training activity data. It is based on the following core principles to ensure the ongoing relevance of VET funding data.
  • This new collection has replaced the former National VET Finance collection.

More information on the VET Funding Collection, including access to the data products can be found at https://www.ncver.edu.au/research-and-statistics/collections/vet-funding

Australian Apprenticeships Data

How do I find information about Australian Apprenticeships commencements?

Data on Australian Apprenticeship commencements is provided in the Apprentice and Trainee collection, which is updated quarterly. This data can be found on the NCVER portal, including through the VOCSTATS databases.

The data products are based on the level of expertise of the user. Infographics and databuilder tables are useful for general users, while those looking for more specific information may need to use the expert user information.

Some of the key data items that are available in the collection include:

  • Training contract status: when using VOCSTATS it is vital to select an item from this list to filter or compare data. These items include commencements, recommencements, completions, and suspensions;
  • Apprentice and trainee attributes: demographics information, plus items such as full-time status, school-based status, and existing worker status;
  • Training package and qualifications data, to filter for or compare specific packages or qualifications; and
  • Employer items, including employer size and type.

Australian Apprenticeships commencement data is used in several AATIS resources, including on this website. You can find more information about this below.

Where do I find information on completions?

Completion numbers are reported in many of the Apprentice and Trainee collection resources. The completion numbers indicate how many apprentice or trainees complete within a quarter. This does not give any information on completion rates.

NCVER publishes an annual completion rates publication, which can also be found on the NCVER portal. Completion rates track Australian Apprentices to determine what percentage of a commencing cohort complete their apprenticeship or traineeship. As the duration of an Australian Apprenticeship can be highly variable, it means that completions data is given several years after commencements occur.

There are two elements to completion rates: contract and individual completion. Information on both can be found in the completion rates publication.

Can I get information on the type of employer, including Group Training Organisations?

The employer type is a variable given in the VOCSTATS database for the Apprentice and Trainee collection. This allows for comparisons between government, private sector, and group training organistations.

In 2019, NCVER released a research report titled 'Completion rates for group training organisations and direct employers: how do they compare?'. This research gives a detailed breakdown of completion rates for group training organisations compared with other employers, and discussed the impacts of apprentice and employer related differences on completions.

What data is available about Australian School-based Apprenticeships?

School-based status is one of the data elements included in the VOCSTATS Apprentice and Trainee collection database.

This flag stays with the apprentice or trainee throughout the duration of their Austalian Apprenticeship. If someone commences as an Australian School-based Apprentice (ASbA), they will be categorised under this item throughout their contract.

No data is available from NCVER about ASbA students changing to part-time or full-time apprentices on completion of their apprenticeship or traineeship. This data may be collected by state and territory governments.

National Skills Commission

Read our NSC Data blog post

How does the NSC use data science?

Data science is about the use of scientific methods to extract knowledge from datasets. Data scientists deploy digital tools including data miningmachine learning and big data.

With the NSC’s adoption of data science techniques, the government has made clear that it recognises the importance of accurate and timely labour market information driven by the benefits of new technology tools.

Read more about the NSC's work in this blog post.

What are Australia's emerging occupations?

The Emerging Occupations project is a prime example of the NSC’s data-driven approach to analysis of Australia’s labour market. To date, the NSC has identified and validated 25 emerging occupations that fall within 7 distinct clusters: Data analytics; Emerging business practices; Health; Online engagement; Refreshing ANZSCO; Regulatory; and Sustainability engineering and trades.

You can read more about the NSC's Emerging Occupations project in this blog post.

What is JEDI?

The Jobs and Education Data Infrastructure (JEDI) project entails another data science-driven approach to analysing a wide range of labour market, skills and education data. JEDI uses these data sources to identify what an individual’s skills in their current or previous employment are skills transferrable to future occupations. Along with providing information on skill transferability, JEDI also identifies VET courses that can be taken to upskill or reskill before transitioning to new career opportunities requiring higher (or different) qualifications.

You can read more about the JEDI project in this blog post.

How is the NSC data used?

The NSC uses data to inform the Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business on Australia's labour market, workforce changes, and skills needs. It is a part of the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment.

The National Career Institute's Your Career website is powered by the NSC's data and labour market intelligence. The website presents this information in a way that can be used by career researchers and job hunters to understand and plan their career pathway. Visit the website to explore how this data is used.

Find out more about the NSC on their website.

Labour Market Information Portal

Who runs the LMIP?

The Australian Government's Labour Market Information Portal (LMIP) has been providing official data, reports and insights into the labour market for many years.

The LMIP now comes under the suite of resources powered by the National Skills Commission. 

Data on the LMIP come from a range of sources, including:

  • Jobactive; 
  • The Department of Education, Skills and Employment;
  • The Australian Bureau of Statistics; and
  • The Internet Vacancy Index (IVI).

What is the Internet Vacancy Index?

According to the LMIP's Vacancy Report:

The IVI [Internet Vacancy Index] is the only publicly available source of detailed data on online vacancies, including for around 350 occupations (at all skill levels), as well as for all states/territories and 37 regions. The IVI is based on a count of online job advertisements newly lodged on SEEK, CareerOne and Australian JobSearch during the month. As such, the IVI does not reflect the total number of job advertisements in the labour market as it does not include jobs advertised through other online job boards, employer websites, word of mouth, in newspapers, and advertisements in shop windows. The IVI also does not take account of multiple positions being advertised in a single job advertisement.

The IVI has been used in the media quite a lot this year, to predict what is happening in the Australian employment marketing during and through the recovery from COVID-19. It is a useful source of information, however the data needs to be interpreted with reference to what the IVI includes and what it doesn’t include.

As the data is collected in the same way each month, if employers are similarly likely over time to advertise vacancies online, it is a good measure of overall vacancies. It can tell us how the labour market is trending overall.

This data set can not tell us the total number of vacancies in the labour market, or the number of people who will be hired from the vacancies. If there are differences between occupations/industries in terms of how employers hire people, then we can’t directly compare those areas – but we can compare the upwards or downwards trends.

The IVI can be broken down to industry, occupation, and state. The LMIP has information dating back to 2006 so we can examine trends in vacancies.

It is best to think of this index as an indicator of which direction the employment market is moving. As we have seen this year, things can change very rapidly and these data sets can give an indication of what might happen but can’t predict everything.

This data, updated monthly, can be found on the LMIP.

Where do I find industry-wide data?

The LMIP has industry information pages, which break down data by Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC) 2006 group.

The main Industry Information page includes total data across all industries, and links through to the 19 industry groups for more information.

On each industry page you will find data on:

  • Employment levels;
  • Employment growth;
  • Male and female employment;
  • Full-time employment;
  • Median weekly earning;
  • Projected employment growth; and
  • Top 10 occupations in this industry.

This data should be interepreted with caution due to the effects of COVID-19 on the employment landscape. Data has been collated from the ABS and NSC.

Classification and duration of Australian Apprenticeships

The Australian Apprenticeships and Traineeships Information Service (AATIS) maintains a database of classification and duration data for Australian Apprenticeships. The Field Officer Briefs pages contain information broken down for Training Packages with approved Australian Apprenticeship qualifications.

In the Field Officer Briefs you can filter by one or more states or territories to limit your search to approved qualifications in those areas. Data shown in these Briefs includes:

  • 'Commencements' tab: commencements data by qualfication code, for each state and territory;
  • 'Availability & Duration' tab: approved apprenticeship and traineeship qualifications by qualification code and title for each state and territory, including data on whether these are approved as an apprenticeship or traineeship, approved part-time, and the nominal full-time duration. If there are streams for the qualification, these are shown in italics next to the qualification code and title; and
  • 'Australian School-based Apprenticeships' tab: approved as an ASbA by qualification code for each state and territory.

This data is also shown in the Job and Training Descriptions, displayed differently based on the persona and state of selection.

What other data does AATIS use?

A range of data is used across the Australian Apprenticeships Pathways website, and other Australian Apprenticeships and Traineeships Information Service resources. This includes the commencements, classification and duration data described in the previous item.

In addition, AATIS uses data from the LMIP and NCVER's Student Outcomes Survey to demonstrate outcomes and pathways within industries. This data can be found in the Job and Training Descriptions, and the Industry Information pages.

The Data and Research page gives further information about Training Package data, NCVER Apprentice and Trainee statistics, and AATIS research projects.

More Information

There are a range of sources where you can find more information about Australian Apprenticeships and VET data and research, including:


Information in this article has been interpreted by AATIS staff from original sources at NCVER and the NSC.

For attendees of the webinar: if you would like a certificate of attendance please email us at contact@aatis.com.au with your name and the email address you registered with, and we will email you a certificate.