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Insight issue #58 22 August 2016

Data on total investment in VET: what needs to be collected

Investment in vocational education and training (VET) comes from many sources including governments, industry and individuals.  Currently, however, only direct investment by governments is collected on a regular basis. Knowing how much is being invested in VET as a whole is important, particularly when related to policy.

This information relates to efficiency, effectiveness and equity. How much education and training is being delivered in terms of money invested? What are the outcomes and quality of education and training in terms of employment and relevance of skills? Is the training meeting the needs of disadvantaged groups?

Given the importance of having information on all investment in VET and the advent of total VET activity, new research by Gerald Burke from Monash University looks at sources of investment in VET that are outside NCVER’s finance collection.

The research finds that there is a good case for extending the collection of investment information on vocational education and training to inform policy and link to the broader objectives of the system.

The research also finds that there are some types of investment data that are more easily collected than others. There is information on various forms of student assistance, employer incentives for apprenticeships, and the cost of non-repayment of VET FEE-HELP loans that may be more feasible to collect in the shorter term.

The most difficult forms of investment data to collect, but also significant in size, are private investments into private registered training organisations (including from international students), and broader investment into education and training by employers.

NCVER’s Managing Director, Dr Craig Fowler, reflects that “gathering information on all sources of investment in VET is a long term aim. Some of this information will more easily obtained than others. Ultimately, obtaining as much investment information as possible will serve to assist policy in improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the system.”

To access Data on investment in VET: what is needed and can it be collected? by Gerald Burke, visit