Examining VET pathways to student success

Media release

22 May 2024

The latest research from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) suggests that students completing all vocational education and training (VET) subjects in which they have enrolled could be considered alongside VET program completions as an additional measure of successful student outcomes.

The student journey: the many faces of completion and non-completion in VET explored the various aspects of course completion and non-completion. It identified instances where program non-completions can be considered as successful student outcomes, possibly reflecting diverse student intentions.

The report found 49.5% of VET students who commenced training in 2016 successfully completed their VET program. When including students who completed all their enrolled VET subjects, but who did not complete their programs, the percentage of students considered to have a successful outcome increased by 19.8% to 69.3%.

Different student groups demonstrated various combinations of these two training success measures. Taking the example of students living in remote areas, the research found that despite having a lower program-completion rate than all students (47.9% compared with 49.5%), the combination of completing all enrolled subjects in addition to program completions meant remote students had a higher rate of success than all students (72.3% compared with 69.3%).

An analysis of student movement within the VET system found students blended different training components, which included enrolling in and completing subjects either independently or alongside their program enrolments.

NCVER Managing Director Simon Walker explains, ‘While the completion of VET programs is an important outcome for students, a broader consideration of what constitutes training success is needed.

A more nuanced approach to how success is measured may help enable more tailored policy development and changes to qualification design, such as those currently under consideration by the federal government.

Ultimately, understanding student dynamics and choices may better support their diverse training needs’.


By using the unique student identifier in the National VET Provider Collection, student enrolments were tracked from 2016 to 2021 to gain a greater understanding of how students move through the VET system as well as how they mix and match training types.


Research report: The student journey: the many faces of completion and non-completion in VET

Technical paper: Mapping the student journey: the many faces of completion and non-completion in VET

Enquiries: Chantal Deutrom P: +61 8 8230 8418 E: chantaldeutrom@ncver.edu.au

About NCVER: we are the main 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.

This work has been produced by NCVER on behalf of the Australian Government and state and territory governments, with funding provided through the Australian Government Department of Employment and Workplace Relations.