NCVER Insight Banner
Insight issue #58 22 August 2016

Making sense of total VET activity

Analysis of Australia’s training sector reveals many similarities and some differences between participants in the national VET system.

The introduction of total VET activity (TVA) in 2014 broadened the scope of the National VET Provider Collection, and for the first time, presented a more comprehensive picture of national accredited training across the whole Australian VET sector.

Making sense of total VET activity: an initial market analysis is the first in a suite of papers from NCVER that seek to better explain and explore the data in depth. It examines and compares the differences between past VET activity data (pre-2014) reported as ‘Government-funded students and courses’ and the first new expanded data reported as ‘Total VET students and courses 2014’, noting that the first year of reported total VET activity was a transition year and was still somewhat incomplete due to a number of temporary reporting exemptions.

The analysis shows that over half (57.6%) of the 3.9 million students reported to the 2014 National VET Provider Collection trained with private providers. And while 14.1% of all training providers are categorised as ‘large’, it is at these providers where the majority of students (80.4%) study, many of which are TAFE institutes.

In terms of student characteristics, overall there is little difference between student profiles at government-funded and private training providers, but a slightly higher proportion of students who are younger, female and from lower socioeconomic backgrounds are enrolled with government-funded training providers.

Analysis of enrolments shows that TAFE institutes tend to deliver longer courses, such as ‘Engineering and related technologies’ and ‘Architecture and building’ subjects. In contrast, private providers deliver more health-related training.

Over the next two to three years, with successive collections of data, a more complete picture of national training will emerge to help better inform consumers as well as providing valuable information for policy-makers, researchers and training providers.

To access Making sense of total VET activity: an initial market analysis, visit

Further reading

Further related papers on topics such as the VET provider market structure and use of different national training qualifications will continue to explore the potential of this expanded, more complete national VET collection.

To access VET provider market structures by Patrick Korbel and Josie Misko, visit

The second release of TVA - Total VET students and courses 2015 - provides an even more complete picture of the national training market, supported by a suite of easy to use products including infographics, fact sheets and data visualisation tools to help get the most out of this valuable national statistical resource.

To access Total VET students and courses 2015 and the associated products, visit