Training course uptake plummets, says ABS

The number of Australians going to conferences, seminars and training courses to boost their work potential has continued to fall, plummeting by about 20 per cent in the past four years.

Statistics released this morning by the Australian Bureau of Statistics found there were 3.8 million Australians aged between 15 and 74 who participated in work-related training in 2016-17, representing 21.5 per cent of the the population.

In 2013, however, that number was 26.9 per cent. Eight years before that, 35.9 per cent of the population in that age group undertook work-related training of some kind.

Almost half of those surveyed said they had either too much work or too little time to do more training, while about a quarter said it was simply too expensive. One in 10 said they would like to participate in more training.

ABS expert Stephen Collett said the drop was evident in both genders to a similar degree.

“The survey results show a decrease in work-related training over about three years,” he said. “Men’s participation dropped from 27 per cent to 22 per cent, while women’s participation dropped from 27 per cent to 21 per cent.”

People with tertiary qualifications including trade certificates were twice as likely to participate in work-related training than those without a certificate, the survey found.

Younger workers – those aged between 15 and 24 – were less likely to be involved in work-related training, with just 10.6 per cent participation rate. The lowest group was those aged between 65 and 74, at 4.5 per cent. “This reflects lower rates of employment in these age groups,” the ABS said in its release.

The Work-Related Training and Adult Learning Survey collects information on education and training by Australians aged 15-74.

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