Indigenous VET to higher education pathways and transitions: An integrative literature review

John Frawley, James A Smith, Andrew Gunstone, Ekaterina Pechenkina, Wendy Ludwig, Allison Stewart

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The rates of Australian Indigenous participation in higher education (HE) are significantly lower than those of non-Indigenous students, with Indigenous students less likely than their non-Indigenous peers to complete Year 12. As a result, they are less likely to obtain an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) needed for university admission. Statistically, far more Indigenous students enrol in Vocational Education and Training (VET) than in HE. With VET to HE transition pathways remaining convoluted, it is critical to streamline those in order to increase Indigenous HE participation. This is of particular importance for rural and remote Indigenous students who have completed a VET qualification and are considering HE study. Unfortunately, only 4.9% of Indigenous students currently make this transition from VET to HE. While, as the scoping review undertaken will show, Indigenous enabling programs have received significant attention in the recent past, the potential of the VET to HE pathway to increase Indigenous HE participation remains largely unexplored. This review updates the current evidence base on trends associated with, and strategies used to support, Indigenous students transitioning from VET to HE in Australia, and identifies research gaps in relation to pathways and transitions, especially within the Indigenous experience. Some international comparisons are also undertaken.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)34-54
    Number of pages21
    JournalInternational Studies in Widening Participation
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2017


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