Publication Date



The Australian Youth Survey (AYS) is a major longitudinal survey of young Australians set up to provide policy-relevant information on young people's education and training pathways as well as their access to and success in the Australian labour market. The survey follows a nationally representative group of young people aged 16 to 19, with the initial cohort of approximately 5350 young people interviewed for the first time in 1989. Since then the sample has been interviewed annually on a wide range of topics including school experiences, school-to-work transition, labour market experiences, post-school education and training, income, health, housing and job satisfaction. New nationally-representative samples of sixteen year-olds have been added each year to maintain up-to-date information on school completion and post-school education and training. A major aim of the survey is to help monitor national levels of school completion, entry to higher education, transition from school to work, take-up of training and labour market behaviour. Information on these areas of activity can be produced for a variety of social and demographic groups. The sample and survey design permits groups of students to be tracked as they leave school and enter further education and the workforce. Information is provided on qualitative issues relating to experiences and activities as they move from one area to another. For example, the types of courses students enter as they move from school to TAFE and the types of work they gain. Data is also collected for measuring activities in quantitative terms, for example, the length of time spent looking for work, numbers of jobs and periods of study. This information is recorded using a weekly calendar to map out periods of activity.