Generation Z: leaving school

Media release

2 December 2019

Around 69% of Australian 17-year-olds who planned to go to university when they finished school were at university one year later, according to new data released today by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER).

Generation Z: leaving school uses data from the Longitudinal Surveys of Australian Youth (LSAY) to explore young people’s experiences as they reach the end of their schooling years and begin to transition into post-school study and enter the workforce.

It uses findings from interviews with the newest group of LSAY participants who commenced the program in 2015 to explore how they are faring at age 18 in 2018.

“The wealth of information provided through the LSAY program gives us a better understanding of the key events in the lives of young Australians,” said Mr Simon Walker, Managing Director, NCVER.

“For example, in 2017 we asked participants about their plans when they finished school.

“The following year’s interviews with the same group of young people shows us how they fared with those plans, whether they went on to university, started an apprenticeship or traineeship or other vocational training, or got a job.

“The survey also gives us an insight into the reasons why some left school before graduating, with the most common reason cited being that they had a job, or an apprenticeship or traineeship to go to.”

Information is also provided on young people’s living arrangements, showing that in 2018 around 14% of 18-year-olds had already left home.

“We found that about a quarter of 18-year-olds from non-metro areas had left home compared with 9% from metro areas,” Mr Walker said.

Another key finding is that 18% of 18-year-olds had provided some form of unpaid care over three consecutive months.

“While it’s common for young people in this age group to care for younger relatives, of those who had provided unpaid care, 18% had cared for an adult relative and 12% for a parent or guardian.”

View Generation Z: leaving school on the LSAY website.

The LSAY survey program tracks 15-year-olds over a ten-year period as they move from school into further study and training, work, and into adulthood. It provides valuable insight into key perspectives and changes for young Australians.

The latest data from the group of participants who commenced the LSAY program in 2015, known as the ‘Y15 cohort’, has also been released today.

Summary data can be accessed using LSAY QuickStats, while the unit record data is also available free of charge via a formal application process.

Media enquiries: Helen Wildash, PR and Social Media Officer M: 0448 043 148 E:

About NCVER: we are the principal provider of research, statistics and data on Australia’s VET sector. Our services help promote better understanding of VET and assist policy-makers, practitioners, industry, training providers, and students to make informed decisions.

LSAY is managed by NCVER and conducted by Wallis Market & Social Research on behalf of the Australian Government Department of Education.