From school to VET: choices, experiences and outcomes

June 2017
Estimated publish date
March 2018
Principal researcher(s)
Michelle Circelli, Team Leader Research, NCVER
Josie Misko, Senior Research Fellow, NCVER
Kristen Osborne, Graduate, NCVER
Research sponsor - South Australian Department of State Development
Michelle Circelli 08 8230 8646
Project code

Project purpose

The overarching aims of this research are to investigate student transitions into post-school vocational education and training (VET) with a view to coming up with lessons for how the transition process can be improved for different groups of students. Research about student transitions post-school raises questions about:

  • the relevance of VET to secondary school students
  • educational aspirations and choice
  • training accessibility, engagement, and retention
  • the valuing of prior studies and experience
  • course completions and labour market outcomes.

For the purposes of this research it is proposed to structure the project in two phases. The first involves a synthesis of existing research focused on the journey of school students into, and out of, the VET space. The second phase of the research project will then build on the findings from the first phase and address gaps in current research about the barriers to effective interaction across system boundaries (e.g., jurisdictional, education sectors), and the identification of examples of best practice in creating and maintaining pathways for young people.

There is a body of existing research that has been undertaken to address some of the topic areas listed above. For example, some of the research focuses explicitly on VET in Schools; other research looks at youth at risk, while other research delves into the transitions from school to work: see the VOCEDplus POD network, in particular the PODs relating to ‘Youth Transitions’, ‘Pathways’, and ‘Students’, The Longitudinal Surveys of Australian Youth will also be of interest:

Currently NCVER has a number of pertinent research projects coming to an end which will also add to this body of knowledge and highlight areas of the student journey into and through VET which we still need to learn more about.

Research questions

The intent of the proposed synthesis piece is to address the following questions:

  • What influences young people to undertake VET post-school?
  • What factors support young people to complete VET?
  • What are their outcomes following participation in VET?


A synthesis of the NCVER-funded research projects listed below, incorporating relevant statistical analysis (e.g., LSAY, VET Provider Collection data, Student Outcomes) and a desktop analysis of relevant literature attained through VOCEDplus will be undertaken.

The synthesis piece will be a useful addition to existing knowledge in both compiling what is currently known from diverse sources but also identifying ‘gaps’ that need further exploration. This piece may be of use to governments, industry and training providers.