4.1 TAFE, as the major provider of the broad spectrum of skills required by the Australian labour force, is the education sector through which Governments - State and Commonwealth - have chosen to operate a wide range of economic and social objectives, particularly those related to employment policies. The sheer size of its student population and the wider cross-section of the community that it serves, relative to the other tertiary education sectors, means that TAFE is subject to a wide range of demographic and labour market factors . This Chapter examines the effect of these external factors with a view to describing the likely future environment in which the TAFE system will be expected to operate. In particular it examines how the TAFE population is likely to fit into the overall education/labour force activity profile in 1990 in comparison to the current profile; the analysis pays
particular attention to the younger age groups (15-19 and 20-24) because of the current focus of Government on youth policy initiatives.
Demographic Factors Overall Population Trends
4.2 Australia's population is projected to increase over the next decade at approximately the same rate as it did over the last; from 15.6 million in 1984 to 16.7
million in 1990 which represents an average annual growth rate of about 1.2 per cent. Table 4.1 shows movements in total population and in selected age groups between 1974
and 1984 with projections for 1990 and 1994. The
projections for 1990 form the backdrop for the Committee's projections of youth (15-19 year olds) activity and overall TAFE enrolments later in this Chapter.
4.3 The 15-19 age group is expected to peak by about 1988 and then decline through the remainder of the decade to 1994, both absolutely and as a share of total
population. Numbers in the 20-29 age group are expected to increase througiiout the decade, but will represent a
decreasing share of total population. The 30 years and over age group is also expected to grow and to assume an
increasing share of total population, from around 51 per cent in 1984 to 55 per cent by 1994.
4.4 Table 4.2 shows what would happen to TAFE
enrolinents by 1990 and 1994 if there was no change in the existing age participation rates; enrolments would be 7.2 per cent and 8.5 per cent respectively above 1984 levels.
(a) 1974, 1984 actual (from ABS Cat.No. 3201.0: Estimated Resident Population; 1990, 1994 projected (from ABS Series A popoulation projections - on microfiche) Note: A lag occurs in the pattern of projections for subsequent age groups. For
example the 20-24 age group peaks five years later than the 15-19 age group; the number of 18 year olds peaks one year later than the number of 17 year olds and so on.
POPUlATION DISTRIBUTION BY AGE, SELECTED YEARS, 1974 TO 1994(a)
1984 1990 1994 1974 1984 1990 1994
000 persons % distribtT[n
3824.3 3730.1 3712.8 3860.9 27.9 24.0 22.2 22.0
253.7 269.2 254.1 242.4 1.8 1.7 1.5 1.4
246.2 256.9 263.2 245.5 1.8 1.7 1.6 1.4
240.1 254.8 271.9 246.5 1.7 1.6 1.6 1.4
238.1 252.9 287.6 251.0 1.7 1.6 1.7 1.4
234.7 258.5 292.7 258.3 1.7 1.7 1.7 1.5
1212.7 1292.3 1369.3 1243.8 8.8 8.3 8.2 7.1
1156.7 1351.6 1331.9 1414.6 8.4 8.7 8.0 8.0
1124.9 1287.4 1381.9 1358.1 8.2 8.3 8.3 7.7
6404.1 7894.5 8932.1 9710.8 46.7 50.7 53.4 55.2 13722.6 15555.9 16728.2 17588.1 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 Age group
0-14 15 16 17 18 19 15-19 20-24 25-29
30 and over TOTAL
GROWTH(a) IN AGE
INDEXES OF POPULATION GROUPS
Based on ABS 1984 Series A population projections.
Assumes the maintenance of current participation rates and based on the age distribution of the TAFE and higher education populations in recent years.
The weights applying to each age group are as follows:
15-19 20-24 25-29 30&
RELEVANT TO TAFE AND HIGHER EDUCATION (Base year 1984 = 100)
Weighted indexes (b) Higher
15-19 20-24 25-29 over TAFE Education
1974 93.8 85.6 87.4 81.1 86.9 87.2
1984 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
1990 106.0 98.5 107.3 113.1 107.2 105.7
1994 96.2 104.7 105.5 123.0 108.5 106.8
TAFE 32 20 13 35
Higher education (%) 30 30 15 25
Thus, in the absence of any other influences, demographic pressures would lead to enrolment increases of around 1 per cent per annum through to 1994. However, the fact is that the participation rates for TAFE have increased
dramatically for all age groups over'the last decade and all the critical signs suggest that this trend will
continue. This is not a matter for conjecture but a matter of stated policy on the part of Commonwealth and State governments alike.
Distribution of TAFE Activity
4.5 TAFE reaches a far wider cross-section of the population than either of the other tertiary education sectors and would, at first glance, appear to be less sensitive to changes in the age composition of the
population. In fact, there is significant variation in the extent to which each age group draws on TAFE resources and thus the degree to which the TAFE system as a whole must respond to population changes is largely dependent on where the changes occur.
4.6 An examination of the figures in Table 4.3 shows that the 15-19 age group constitutes a far greater share (46 per cent) of actual student contact than of student numbers (30 per cent) and an even greater share (49 per cent) of teaching effort. A significant gap also exists in the distribution of TAFE resources between females and
m 1 1
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numbers they represent only 42 per cent of student contact hours and a very low 37 per cent of teaching effort. These imbalances are even more pronounced in the younger age groups where, because of the different courses undertaken by males and females, more than twice the teaching effort and a significantly higher proportion of student load is directed to male students.
4.7 To emphasise the point, less than 10 per cent of student contact hours in Stream 3 courses - the higher cost trade courses - relate to female students. Females tend to undertake courses which do not lead directly to the primary labour market. Thus, while females are in the minority among TAFE students they are also concentrated in the lower cost courses which in general are the courses with the poorest career potential.
DISTRIBUTION OF TAFE ACTIVITY ACROSS SELECTED DEMOGRAPHIC GROUPS, 1984
Number '000 hours '000 hours Number '000 hours '000 hours Males
15-19 154635 53446 4052.4 165582 53756 4073.4
20-24 97086 23260 1547.8 111990 23682 1576.5
25 & over(b) 203065 33527 2027.6 296228 36162 2207.1
15-19 97028 32634 1926.2 119237 33262 1969.0
20-24 62285 13195 765.8 99426 14246 837.4
25 & over(b) 217071 32885 1870.0 461834 39810 2341.5
15-19 251663 86080 5978.6 284819 87018 6042.4
20-24 159371 36455 2313.6 211416 37928 2413.9
25 & over(b) 420136 66411 3897.6 758062 75972 4548.6
TOTAL 831170 188946 12189.8 1254297 200918 13004..9
Percentage Distribution Males
15-19 18.6 28.4 33.2 13.2 26.8 31.3
20-24 11.7 12.3 12.7 8.9 11.8 12.1
25 & over(b) 24.4 17.7 16.6 23.6 18.0 17.0
TOTAL 54.7 58.4 62.5 45.7 56.6 60.4
15-19 11.7 17.2 15.8 9.5 16. 6 15.1
20-24 7.5 7.0 6.3 7.9 7.1 6.4
25 & over(b) 26.1 17.4 15.3 36.8 19.8 18.0
TOTAL 45.3 41.6 37.4 54.2 43.5 39.5
15-19 30.3 45.6 49.0 22.7 43.3 46.4
20-24 19.2 19.3 19.0 16.9 18.9 18.6
25 & over(b) 50.5 35.1 31.9 60.4 37.8 35.0
TOTAL 100.0 100.0 100.0 300.0 100.0 100.0
Includes those students who did not state their age.
Stream 1-5 All Streams
Sex/Age Student Teaching Student Teaching
Students Contact Hours(a) Efeort(a) Students Contact Hours(a) Effort(a)
4.8 Relating student numbers to load and teaching effort provides a useful indicator of the intensity with which each demographic group makes use of TAFE facilities
and allows population movements for individual groups to be placed in perspective. However this approach should be taken with some caution as the current, use of TAFE by the different age groups may not accurately reflect the real demand by each group. For example some older students are unable to enter courses of their choice or are not
encouraged to enrol because of pressures from younger age groups. A further measure which allows movements in
student numbers to be analysed independently of population movements is the participation rate.
Participation in TAFE
4.9 The participation rate removes the effect of population movements by expressing student numbers for a particular demographic group as a proportion of the population in that group.
4.10 Table 4.4 shows participation rates in Streams 1-5 by age group and by mode of attendance. While
participation rates for all groups have increased significantly over the last decade, there has been a slackening in the overall rate of increase and a slight decline in 15-19 year old participation during the 1980s.
Evidence of unmet demand suggests that resource constraints are dampening increases in participation. The Committee expects participation by all age groups to increase over the decade to 1994 as a consequence of Government and
private sector action to encourage people, particularly the young, to engage in post-school education and training.
4.11 While full-time participation rates for females are about the same as those for males, a wide gap exists between the sexes in part-time participation, particularly
in the 15-19 age group. In recent years this gap has narrowed rapidly following a general stabilising of part-time male participation and significant rises in part-time female participation.
4.12 TAFE participation generally peaks at a much younger age than that for higher education and the peak levels are spread over a narrower age band (17-19 as
compared to 17-21). For both sexes full-time participation in TAFE is highest at age 17 while part-time participation peaks at age 16 for females and at age 18 for males.
PARTICIPATION RATES IN TAFE STREANS 1-5
BY SEX AND TYPE OF ENROLMENT, SELECTED AGES (a), 1975, 1981 TO 1984 (number per 1,000 of relevant population cohorts)
Students for whom age was not stated have been distributed to ages according to the distribution of known ages at the finest level of detail possible.
Total enrolments in Streams 1-5 per 1,000 population aged 15-64.
15-19 20-24 25-64 15-64 15-19 20-24 25-64 15-64 15-19 20-24 25-64 15-64
1975 17 7 n.a. n.a. 194 n.a. n.a. n.e. 211 n.e. n.a. n.e.
1981 34 9 1 7 232 131 41 78 266 140 42 85
1982 33 8 1 6 235 129 42 79 268 137 43 85
1983 40 11 1 8 217 136 46 81 258 148 47 89
1984 41 13 2 8 205 136 48 79 246 149 50 88
1975 23 4 n.e. n.e. 67 n.a. n.a. n.e. 90 n.a. n.a. n.e.
1981 35 7 1 6 112 73 35 50 148 80 36 57
1982 36 6 1 6 119 76 41 55 155 82 42 62
1983 38 8 1 7 126 87 47 62 164 95 48 69
1984 38 10 2 7 129 92 52 67 167 102 54 74
1975 20 5 n.e. 4(b) 132 n.a. n.a. 54(b) 152 n.a. n.a. 58(b)
1981 34 8 1 6 173 103 38 65 208 110 39 71
1982 34 7 1 6 178 103 41 67 213 110 42 73
1983 39 10 1 7 173 112 46 71 212 122 48 79
1984 39 11 2 8 167 114 50 73 206 125 52 81
Full-time Part-time Total
4.13 The trends outlined above highlight the dominance of the younger age cohorts both with respect to
participation and in the demands imposed on TAFE resources.
Apart from resource constraints, the extent to which these trends will continue into the 1990s is in part dependent on the post-school destination intentions of students
currently proceeding through the secondary school system.
The Secondary School Population
4.14 A further determinant of the likely demand for TAFE by young people is the number who stay on at secondary school past the minimum school leaving age and, as an
adjunct to this, the number who, having completed Year 12, then proceed to higher education. In this context there are two important indicators of the intentions of young people: the school retention rate; and the transition rate
from school to further study. The first expresses the number of students completing secondary school as a proportion of those who commenced four or five years
earlier, while the second shows the proportion of a Year 12 cohort who commence tertiary education in the following year.
4.15 From 1974-1982 retention to Year 12 remained fairly constant at between 33 per cent and 36 per cent.
This trend was followed by quite dramatic rises to 41 per cent in 1983 and 45 per cent in 1984; preliminary estimates indicate a further rise in 1985. During the same period the transition rate of Year 12 students to higher education has dropped from 54 per cent in 1974 to a constant level of 41-42 per cent from 1982-1984. No doubt part of this decline represents unmet demand for higher education. But it is also the case that many of the extra people staying on to complete Year 12 do not have higher education
directly in mind; they see a Year 12 education as improving their overall job prospects and/or widening their options for tertiary study. It is a fact that:
more and more commencing students in TAFE have, at some time in the past, completed (or almost
completed) a full secondary education - 17 per cent in 1982 rising to 22 per cent in 1984 - or, to put the point another way;
TAFE is taking an increasing share of students proceeding directly from Year 12 to tertiary
education to the extent that in 1984 roughly equal proportions (about 21 per cent) of 1983 Year 12
students proceeded directly to each of the TAFE, university and advanced education sectors; for TAFE this proportion has increased from 18 per
cent in the previous year but has remained constant for the other sectors.
The combined effect of increasing retention rates to the final year of secondary school and the increasing rate of transition from end of school to TAFE will increase
pressure on places in Streams 1-4 courses, particularly full-time places.
4.16 As a consequence of this trend there are a number of likely (if less obvious) effcts on TAFE of the
increased numbers staying on at school:
more will go on to TAFE but with more schooling behind them; implying some reduction in the longer term for the level of demand for Stream 5 (Preparatory)
more will combine school and TAFE (for example through some theoretical and practical components of
trade-based pre-eniployinent training) which itself may act as a catalyst for later TAFE involvement through the initial "taste" and the convenience of gaining credit which can later be applied in a TAFE mainstream
Those who do not complete Year 12 will be able to make use of the much expanded arrangements for vocational
preparation provided by programs such as the Australian Traineeship System.
4.17 There will also be other school leavers who, faced with increased competition for direct entry to higher
education courses - higher entry scores and tighter quotas - are likely to see TAFE as an alternative route to higher education. This will be true particularly in areas such as business studies or health care where both TAFE and higher education have extensive involvements. The Committee supports greater articulation of TAFE and higher education courses and addresses the question of measures to support such arrangements in Chapter 6 (see paragraphs
6.113-6.123). At this stage it is sufficient to note that the acceptance of articulated courses as a normal entrance to higher education will place additional pressure on TAFE places.
The Future Labour Market Introduction
4.18 Of all education sectors, TAFE has the strongest links with the labour market and is the most directly affected by changes in labour market conditions,
particularly for young people. A high proportion of all TAFE students are participants in TAFE precisely because of their labour market circumstances - whether as apprentices required to attend TAFE under the conditions of their apprenticeships; as displaced workers seeking a new
vocational direction; as small business managers seeking to develop their marketing and management skills; as
well-qualified school leavers seeking marketable skills; or as unemployed young people undertaking TAFE courses to
improve their basic skills and long-term employment prospects.
4.19 The problems associated with labour market forecasting are well recognised. However a plausible statement can be made about movements in key labour market variables over the next 5 years or so, based on both the economic and social factors which impinge on the demand for
4.20 Australia's economic development will depend to a large extent on the ability of existing industries to remain competitive in domestic and international markets and for the development of viable new industries.
4.21 On the domestic scene there is likely to be a substantial restructuring of industry and an enhancement of the technology base. This suggests the need for a mobile labour force to assist industry adjustment.
4.22 The community will require that TAFE will be both pro-active and responsive to these changing skill
requirements; that is, TAFE will shape, as well as respond to, the requirements of technological change and structural adjustments. In recent years the Government has intervened
in times of depressed economic activity by turning to TAFE to provide pre-employment and retraining facilities for those people who are most affected by changing economic conditions. The TAFE system will need to maintain this role by the provision of retraining for those in the labour force who have not had the benefit of a broad-based
vocational preparation. However, it must also move towards broad-based vocational courses, with an emphasis on
adaptive skills so as to reduce the future need for
retraining, and thus avoid significant, economic and social cost.
4.23 On the international scene Australia is recognised as a high wage economy. Apart from natural resources and primary production, Australia's comparative advantage is
likely to lie in finding niches in overseas markets
associated with knowledge-intensive industries which depend on design and product differentiation. Keeping in mind the Commonwealth policy to reduce reliance on migration as a source of skills, a need will develop for more specialised skills which will:
secure greater self-sufficiency in the supply of skilled labour to industry;
maintain living standards in a highly competitive international environment ; and
secure opportunities for the export industry.
Great reliance will be placed on the TAFE system to satisfy these needs.
4.24 There is a range of social factors which will need to be addressed concurrently with measures directed to satisfying the future demand for labour based on economic considerations. While satisfying the economic requirements of a rapidly changing industrial scene, a better
education/training system will enable individuals to benefit through:
better living standards;
more options for mobility within the labour market;
more options for further education/training and personal development; and
greater ability to cope in a high technology environment.
4.25 The Government, through-its recent "Priority One"
statement, has a commitment toensure that all young people reaching the end of compulsory schooling will have
available to them a range of constructive options in education and training which will equip them better for entry to the labour market and further education and training.
4.26 Aligned closely with this is a further commitment to ensure, as far as possible, that all people can compete on an equal footing for entry to education regardless of socio-economic background or personal characteristics and circumstances. Once these people have been assisted into education/training, there is a further commitment to
provide the necessary services to help them to persist with and ultimately succeed in education.
4.27 In order to meet these commitments, the Government has, either planned or in place, a number of initiatives
aimed to encourage participation in post-school education, all of which will make extensive use of TAFE services.
4.28 The key element of the Commonwealth Government's recently announced "Priority One" strategy for young Australians is sustained growth in full-time educational provision. The strategy will involve a number of
the introduction of a system of traineeships (ATS) to complement post-compulsory schooling and other streams of vocational preparation;
the integration of several community-based training programs into a single program;
the integration of existing wage subsidy programs and a rationalisation of youth income support arrangements so that they are related to age rather than type of activity; and
progressively eliminating by 1989 the gaps between rates of educational allowance and unemployment benefit for persons under 21 years.
Aligned closely with these initiatives is the Commonwealth Government's policy which encourages young people to stay on and complete a full secondary education or its
4.29 With the Government's continued commitment and policy support for sustained growth in full-time education provision it is expected that, by the early 1990s, most young people will be in some form of full-time
education/training, full-time employment or some
combination of the two; and that by that time, measurable unemployment will virtually be eliminated amongst 16 and 17 year olds. Apart from ensuring an adequate vocational preparation foras many young Australians as possible, the
Government has also recognised the labour market needs of older groups in the community through a number of
4.30 The importance to economic development of adequate retraining opportunities for the existing workforce has been emphasised recently by a number of expert bodies.
They include the Committee of Inquiry into Labour Market Programs, the Australian Education Council Task Force on Education and Technology and the Economic Planning Advisory Council. A common theme in the advice of those bodies is that a concerted effort is necessary, through education and training, to raise the skill levels of the whole workforce if Australia is to realise its economic and social
4.31 The need to develop options for retraining has been generated by a mix of both economic and equity-related factors. Retraining will be required for many adults as a result of technological change and the major restructuring which is taking place in some sectors of industry.
Retrenched workers, women seeking to re-enter the labour market and special-needs job seekers such as Aborigines and disabled persons will form the bulk of the demand for
retraining. The extent of demand for retraining is likely to be most affected by the adequacy of income support
provided through labour market programs and the current and future availability of jobs in the areas in which
retraining is required; such availability must take into account the pattern of, say, technological change which brought about the need for retraining - that is, for how long will the new skills acquired through retraining remain appropriate?
4.32 The retraining facilities required for women seeking to re-enter the labour market are likely to have a different emphasis in the short-term because it is expected that early retraining for many women will involve building confidence, developing basic vocational and job-seeking
skills and entry to areas in which women have not traditionally been accepted.
Technological Change and Restructurinq of Industry 4.33 New technology and structural changes to many industries mean that the demand for labour in some occupational groups (such as machinists in the textile, clothing and footwear industry) will be lessened and thus that retraining will be required to enhance the relevance of skills in the same industry or to develop skills
relevant to those industries which are expanding and which are likely to remain labour intensive in the foreseeable future; the hospitality, banking and finance and retail industries are prime examples. Experience has shown that many workers who need retraining are, for various reasons, not interested in retraining in a related area, which adds to the complexities of predicting specific retraining requirements.
4.34 Technological and structural change is expected to have more impact on some groups in the labour market than others. While initiatives are being introduced to deal