VET international numbers bucking the trend


International student enrolment trends are increasingly hard to understand and interpret since COVID-19 started. Especially VET numbers, which keep growing

The national border closed on March 20, but there was surprising growth in international VET student numbers over the next three months  – and no, it was not from people studying off-shore. With 9 per cent in this category VET has the lowest figure across all of the post-school system.

The details:   June commencements were: HE down 13.4 percent; schools down 5.3 percent; ELICOS (with visa) down 24 percent; non-award down 12.1 perc cent. But VET was up 9.2 percent.

Pathways pre-VET data for 2020 shows those choosing a VET programme who previously studied in Australia had been in the following: schools, 1 percent, non-award 1 per cent, HE 28 per cent, ELICOS 34 percent. Fresh starters from abroad accounted for 35 per cent.

In comparison, the 2019 figures were schools and non-award 1 per cent each, HE was 21 per cent, ELICOS 27 per cent and fresh starters 49 percent.  It’s the movement from HE sector to VET that is driving much of the growth.

Where it’s happening:  NSW is up 2 per cent, VIC 14.8 per cent, QLD 2.2 per cent, SA 38 per cent, WA 19.3 per cent, TAS 8.8 per cent, NT up 122 per cent and ACT up 23 per cent.

The two big increases are in Victoria where the 14.8 percent increase represents an additional 3,879 Students. There are an additional 1020 students in South Australia.

What’s going on in Victoria: Internationals in Victoria are studying (using commencement figures): business management 6087, cookery 4797, hospitality management 1776, vehicle mechanics 1407, automotive engineering and technology 1130.

The ratio between government and non-government providers in Victoria in commencements is 94.7 non-government to 5.3 government. When it comes to all enrolments the ratio is 95.1 non-government v 4.9 government.

Countries commencement growth in Victoria is largely driven by India; 9893 students, then daylight to China 2245, Nepal 2050, Colombia 1871 and Philippines 1565 rounding out the top 5.

Commencements by level of study are: advance diplomas, up by 18 percent, certificate one, down 57 per cent, certificate two, up 40 per cent, certificate three, up 4.7 per cent, certificate four, up 23 percent and diploma, up 10 per cent.

The large growth in certificate two commencements was fuelled predominantly by a growth in security services narrow field of study, with 281 commencements (total growth for overall certificate two study was 353).

What to watch for: Is what happens in private colleges as these students complete over the next nine months.  To keep the doors open they will need to be able to welcome new students.

Dirk Mulder is CMM’s international education correspondent