VET vital to early school leavers

Vocational education and training (VET) plays a crucial role in giving Australians the skills and resources needed to access jobs and participate meaningfully in their communities. VET is of particular importance to early school leavers and ‘second-chance’ learners.

Above: Transition to Work is one of our programs linking young people to vocational opportunities.

Early school leavers are much more likely to have experienced hardship than those who complete Year 12. This negatively impacts young people’s economic participation, social connectedness and health. In the current era of economic and social change, with national youth unemployment at 11.2 per cent, for disadvantaged learners the stakes are high.

But getting young people into training can be difficult. The proportion of those in VET aged between 15 and 19 years has been in a steady decline since 2012.

Our research has identified three critical ways that training providers and support services can improve engagement with the VET system:

  • help early school leavers better understand what VET is and what it can offer them
  • make the enrolment process one that helps lay the foundation for a positive learning experience
  • provide multiple supports for logistic, academic and social help

Meaningful collaboration between training providers and other services is also vital. With this, young people experiencing severe hardship can be linked with health services, community supports and employers.

Research into how the VET sector can better meet the needs of early school leavers and other disadvantaged learners is undertaken by researchers working across the Brotherhood’s Research and Policy Centre.

Find out more about our research and policy work.