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ERIC Number: ED560603
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 56
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 12
ISBN: 978-1-925173-25-3
The Returns to Completion or Partial Completion of a Qualification in the Trades. Research Report
Lu, Tham
National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER)
Many students do not complete full qualifications in the vocational education and training (VET) system because their intention is to obtain only the particular skills they require. This can be achieved through the acquisition of skill sets; these enable flexibility in training to quickly respond to changes in the labour market. Skill sets may also be more appealing to learners due to their relatively lower cost and shorter training duration. Despite the advantages of skill sets, it is clear from previous National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) research that VET students who complete a full qualification have better labour market outcomes than those who do not. Investigating partial completion allows consideration of the impact that completion of skill sets has on the returns to training. Building on the previous research, this particular report focuses on the value of completing a qualification in the trades. Using data from the 2013 Student Outcomes Survey, the research quantifies the benefits of completion of a full qualification relative to partial completion of a qualification. The report also identifies the trade occupations to which completion of a full qualification matters most. Key Messages include: (1) Completion of a full qualification in the trades on average leads to better employment outcomes than completion of modules only; (2) The wage gap between graduates and module completers is relatively small, with graduates estimated to annually earn 2.7% more than module completers; and (3) The returns to qualification completion vary greatly depending on the trade. Students who intend to study the trades should be encouraged to investigate the various types of trades and weigh up the possibilities and potential benefits to completing a full qualification. These findings emphasise the important role of career guidance for trade students while they are still engaged in the VET system. Appended are: (1) Propensity score regression; (2) Modelling results; and (3) Outcome estimates.
National Centre for Vocational Education Research Ltd. P.O. Box 8288, Stational Arcade, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia. Tel: +61-8-230-8400; Fax: +61-8-212-3436; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Numerical/Quantitative Data
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Australian Government Department of Education and Training
Authoring Institution: National Centre for Vocational Education Research
Identifiers - Location: Australia