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Indigenous gap closing thanks to VET

Indigenous youths are becoming more educated, and are thereby helping to Close the Gap, according to a new report from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER).

Increased Indigenous vocational completions are driving this change, though they remain behind non-Indigenous completions.

Jodieann Dawe, the national manager of research and engagement at NCVER, explained the correlation between education and better life outcomes in a statement:

We know from existing research that employment rates are higher for those who gain a certificate III or higher, showing VET is a key component to closing the gap in employment disparity.

Not only are they closing the gap, in some instances, Indigenous youths are outclassing their non-Indigenous peers. The report found that Indigenous trade apprentices, for example, were more likely to be employed, post-training, than others.

Though not all Indigenous youths are excelling. Those in remote regions fall behind those in regional and urban areas in terms of VET enrolment, completion and employment.

Also, in general, Indigenous VET graduates are around 9 per cent less likely to be employed compared to non-Indigenous VET graduates.

VET vastly outweighs other post-school education pathways in regards to its Indigenous popularity. In 2015, Indigenous enrolments in TAFE and private training providers made up 79 per cent of Indigenous education. By contrast, universities made up just 2.7 per cent of enrolments.

The most popular courses amongst Indigenous men are engineering and related technologies; mixed field programs (those that teach literacy, numeracy and personal development); architecture and building; and agriculture, environmental and related studies.

For Indigenous women, its management and commerce; society and culture; mixed field programs; and food, hospitality and personal services.

While employment outcomes may be deficient, Indigenous VET graduates experience higher rates of self-satisfaction, confidence and communication skills. With at least these assets, the gap will surely narrow.

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