Engagement in education and the workforce

This dashboard displays data surrounding the levels of enrolment and involvement of young South Australians (15-19 years) in:

    • secondary school
    • vocational education and training (VET)
    • apprenticeships and traineeships
    • higher education
    • employment and labour force.

Each section below gives further explanations to the data shown in the dashboard.

Fully engaged

This data highlights young people’s level of engagement in study and/or work where they were ‘fully engaged’ (those who are employed full-time and/or studying full-time or employed part-time and studying part-time).

In 2021, nine in 10 (88%) young people aged 15 to 19 years were fully engaged in education, training or work in South Australia – lower than the national average 90%).

Longitudinal overview

The longitudinal overview follows young people from school through to further study and work by surveying the same cohort over a decade from 15 to 25 years old. The most recent cohort started in 2015 at 15 years old.

Key findings of South Australian 19-year-olds in 2019:

    • 96% completion rate for Year 12 or Certificate III or a higher qualification
    • approximately half (50%) were undertaking higher education study
    • more than three-quarters (76%) were employed and almost half (48%) employed casually
    • 5% were undertaking apprenticeships or traineeships and 10% were enrolled in VET study.

Higher Education

Young people may choose post-secondary school study at a university or other tertiary institutions, which for the purposes of this report, refers to undergraduate qualifications, postgraduate qualifications and/or study in non-award or enabling courses for domestic students.

Key findings in 2019:

    • most young people in higher education were studying an undergraduate course full-time and internally (eg, through attendance at higher education institutions)
    • students in higher education were more likely to be female and 18-19 years old
    • 243 were young Aboriginal people (up from 178 in 2016)
    • 1,317 were students with disability (up from 998 in 2016)
    • 3,900 were students from a low socioeconomic area (up from 3,597 in 2016).

Vocational education and training (VET)

Young people enrolled in VET study may be enrolled in Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) programs or individual subjects required for a specific employment skill set. Enrolment reflects students’ needs and requirements. The VET AQF programs range from Certificate I through to Advanced Diploma.

Key findings in 2020:

    • young people enrolled in AQF programs were more likely to be male, to be studying a Certificate III part-time and to still be attending secondary school
    • most young people enrolled in AQF programs lived in low socioeconomic areas
    • 1,180 young Aboriginal people were enrolled in AQF programs (down from 1,305 in 2016).

Apprenticeship and traineeship

Young people with apprenticeships or traineeship contracts are required to complete both on-the-job training and an AQF qualification at a registered training organisation.

Key findings for 2020:

    • more males than females were ‘in-training’ for an apprenticeship or traineeship; however, more females completed an apprenticeship or traineeship by 19 years old
    • young people with an apprenticeship or traineeship contract were more likely to have an occupation as a technician and trades worker
    • 175 young Aboriginal people were in-training for apprenticeships or traineeships (compared to 210 at 30 June 2016).

Employment and labour force

Each month the Australian Bureau of Statistics, releases employment status estimates for the population, including for young people aged 15 to 19 years in South Australia.

The five employment statuses:

    • Employed full-time – working 35 hours or more a week (in all jobs)
    • Employed part-time – working less than 35 hours a week (in all jobs)
    • Not in the labour force (NILF) – students, taking care of children or other family members, not working and not seeking work
    • Unemployed – full-time work – actively looking for full-time work
    • Unemployed – part-time work – looking for part-time work only. It may also include students studying full-time in higher education.

Key findings for 2021:

    • the number of young people classified as NILF was the largest of the five categories above. This may suggest that many young people enrolled in full-time study were not looking for work.
    • young people from rural or regional South Australia tended to have higher participation rates and lower unemployment rates than those in metropolitan Adelaide.

Secondary school

Secondary schools in South Australia can be classified into three categories: Government, Catholic and Independent.

Completion of the South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE) entails meeting the minimum requirements in both the grades and the number of subject credits.

Key findings for 2020:

    • 61% of young people were studying at a government school, 18% catholic and 21% independent.
    • Most young people complete SACE at 17 or 18 years.