Employer-supported training: prevalence, enablers and barriers

September 2014
Estimated publish date
October 2017
Principal researcher(s)
Chandra Shah
Monash University

Laura O'Connor laura.oconnor@ncver.edu.au 08 8230 8493


The purpose of this research project is to:

  1. Investigate the prevalence of employer-supported education and training and its distribution along a number of dimensions, including industry, occupation, size of firm and region. It will also profile the type of worker who benefits from such training.
  2. Conduct an investigation in two industries to provide an in-depth understanding of the on-the-job training in each, including its embrace of the NWDF programme. This part will also include stakeholder consultations about the enablers and barriers to training.

The research will provide an analysis of employer-supported training in Australia using recently available data. While it will specifically inform public policy on employer-supported training, it is also likely to inform policy more generally on VET.


Mixed methods (qualitative and quantitative)

Research questions

The research will address the following key topics:

  1. Current extent and distribution of employer-supported training in Australia. This topic will investigate the extent and type of employer-supported training undertaken by workers in different industries and occupations. It will examine whether the training leads to a recognised qualification or not. It will also examine the demographic and work-related determinants of employer-supported training.
  2. Employer-supported training in the transport and logistics industries. This topic will investigate employer-supported training in two industries (Transport and Llogistics and AgriFood). It will include barriers and enablers to training from a firm and employee perspective. The topic will also include an analysis of the NWDF data related to these two sectors.


A mixed-methods research design will be used, consisting of:

i) A review of the Australian and international literature on employer-supported training, including the current Australian Government policy;

ii) Data analysis examining the prevalence, distribution and determinants of employer-supported training in Australia by using:

  • Programme for International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) 2011-12 CURF file data (which identifies background characteristics; work-related experience; education and training; and employer-supported training status);
  • NWDF data on employer-supported training (which identifies the range of firms and individuals who have participated in the programme as well programme outcomes);
  • Transport & Logistics Industry Skills Council and AgriFoods Skills Australia data (which identifies NWDF participation status, specific to these industry areas).

iii) Stakeholder consultations to provide an understanding of the enablers and barriers to employer-supported training from the perspectives of employers and employees. These consultations, which will be facilitated by the Transport & Logistics Industry Skills Council and AgriFoods Skills Australia, will involve face-to-face interviews at six firms in each industry — three that participated in the NWDF programme and three that did not. The researchers plan to include a large, a medium and a small firm in each group. At each firm the researchers will conduct an in-depth interview with the training manager or equivalent and a focus group with a number of employees. At firms that participated in the NWDF programme the focus groups will attempt to include both employees who have participated in the NWDF and those who have not


The Centre for the Economics of Education and Training (CEET) is a unit in the Faculty of Education, Monash University. It commenced in 1992 and was a Key ANTA National Research Centre for 9 years. CEET’s focus is on the role of education and training in economic and social change. Much of its research is concerned with improving the knowledge base for policy development and its implementation. The work encompasses studies of the labour market and the cost, finance, funding and organisation of education and training across all sectors including the workplace. CEET’s extensive links with the VET and workforce development community that have been built over a number of years will be invaluable in gaining access to organisations and resources to conduct the research outlined in this services agreement.