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Mapping the Journey of VET Foundation Skills Learners

Mapping the Journey of VET Foundation Skills Learners image

Adult language, literacy, numeracy and digital skills (LLND), and employability skills (for example, collaboration, problem-solving and self-management) — often referred to as foundation skills — are key skills that: assist people to get a job and remain employed, look after their mental and physical health, and help them to participate in their community. The role of vocational education and training (VET) in assisting individuals to develop or improve these skills is of interest.

The aim of this exploratory research was to learn more about those who undertake nationally recognised foundation skills programs after school and to investigate their training and employment outcomes. A key aspect of this research involved using the unique student identifier to track learners’ pathways through VET based on the learner’s enrolment status in a defined list of LLND and employment skills programs between 2016 and 2019. In doing so, the research identified four distinct groups of foundation skills learners, with each having varying student, program and provider characteristics:

  • ‘foundation skills only’ learners, who enrolled in an LLND or employment skills program in 2016 and only enrolled in LLND or employment skills programs subsequently
  • ‘foundation skills followed by other VET’ learners, who enrolled in an LLND or employment skills program in 2016 and enrolled in other VET programs in subsequent years
  • ‘foundation skills and other VET concurrently’ learners, who enrolled in an LLND or employment skills program and another VET program concurrently in 2016
  • ‘other VET followed by foundation skills’ learners, who enrolled in a VET program in 2016 (not LLND or employment skills) and enrolled in an LLND or employment skills program in subsequent years.

Key messages

  • Foundation skills learners often embark on complex journeys through the VET system, with these involving multiple enrolments in LLND or employment skills programs and, in many cases, other VET programs.
  • Learners who enrol in foundation skills programs in some combination with other VET programs are more likely to complete any nationally recognised VET program than those who only enrol in foundation skills programs.
  • Learners who complete a foundation skills qualification have poorer employment outcomes than their non-foundation skills qualification completer peers. This is not to say the training is not beneficial. For example, the foundation skills qualification completers who were employed after training were significantly more likely than their non-foundation skills peers to indicate that they found the training relevant to their current job.
  • There are a broad range of reasons why learners enrol in foundation skills programs: understanding their underlying intention or motivation for enrolling must also be considered when gauging a program’s success or otherwise.

Download the research case study via the link below:

Journey through VET: a case study of foundation skills learners

Date posted Aug 11, 2022

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