Skills development


Theme: Prosperous
Dimension: Access to education, skills development and learning throughout life


The share of adults (aged 15 to 74) who in the previous 12 months, participated in formal study which leads to a qualification recognised by the Australian Qualifications Framework, and non‑formal learning (structured training or courses) that do not lead to a formal qualification

Why does this matter

It is important for Australians to have access to training and upskilling so they can take advantage of emerging job opportunities throughout their working lives. This will also help to ensure that people and businesses can adapt to change.

Has there been progress

In 2020–21, 42.1 per cent of Australians aged 15 to 74 years participated in learning over the past 12 months. This was a decrease from 46.4 per cent in 2013. The decline in skills development is driven by the fall in non-formal training from 32.1 per cent to 27.4 per cent over the same period.

How does this differ across cohorts

Different people participate in education and training in different ways.

  • Older people are less likely than younger people to be participating in learning.
  • People with higher levels of educational attainment are more likely than people with lower levels of educational attainment to be participating in learning.
  • Similarly, people from higher socioeconomic backgrounds are more likely than people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds to be participating in learning.
  • People living in major cities are more likely to participate in learning than people living in regional and remote areas.
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