Federal, state and territory skills ministers approved a project in February 2023, led by South Australia, to undertake research to better understand major factors impacting completion rates for VET qualifications, including apprenticeships and traineeships, and identify practical solutions. A National VET Completions Taskforce was established to consider the project findings and provide recommendations to ministers. Megan Lilly, Executive Director of the Centre for Education and Training, represented Ai Group on the Taskforce. The report was released on 25 October 2023.

Research provided to the taskforce by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) found that only 47.6% of students who commence a nationally recognised VET qualification will complete it. Completion rates tend to be slightly higher for apprentices and trainees, with around 55.8% of those commencing in 2017 completing their training contract.

The three main factors that impact learner outcomes and completion rates are the purpose of study, the VET system, and the learner’s characteristics. Learner motivations such as the reason for undertaking training and the stage of the learner’s career journey drive choices, with many learners being satisfied with their training and stating that they achieved their main reason for training, even if they do not complete. The VET system factors include whether the course is delivered as an apprenticeship or traineeship, the mode of delivery, and the quality of training.

The report makes 17 recommendations that consider the whole learner journey, best summarised in the diagram below.

completions report recommendations

Recommendations range from better career and course information from the outset, through assisting employers to support learners in work placements and apprenticeships, to better alignment between school curriculum and vocational pathways and enhanced advice and support for learners who are at risk of dropping out.

These recommendations will be considered by skills ministers. Additionally, a Good Practice Guide will be developed to provide insights and suggestions to guide the implementation of the recommendations.

Read the report