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4.2  Approach and data

The main activity being undertaken is derived using a prioritised list. If a young person is doing multiple activities, the one that is highest in the list is used. For example, if a young person is in school and in limited employment in a particular month, they are only counted as being at school. The activities reported in Insights, in order of priority, are:

  • in custody
  • in school
  • in tertiary education
  • in substantial employment (with industry training)
  • in substantial employment (without industry training)
  • in limited employment
  • short-term NEET
  • long-term NEET.

If a person spent more than 15 days overseas in a particular month they are excluded from the results in that month. If a person spent more than 15 days in a particular month serving a custodial sentence, that is considered to be their main activity for the month. Education and employment activities are defined where a person spent at least 1 day of a month enrolled in school or in a tertiary course that equates to more than half of an Equivalent Fulltime Student (EFTS), or they earned at least $10 in the month.

Where a young person had self-employment income in a tax year, it is not possible to determine in which months it was earned. The earnings are distributed across the year, while negative values are treated as zero income.

'Substantial employment' is where a young person earned more than a person working 30 hours at the adult minimum wage would have earned in a month, while 'limited employment' is where they earned less than that amount in a month.

NEET means a young person is 'Not in Employment, Education or Training'. They may or may not be receiving a benefit, but there is no information to indicate they are in formal education, training or employment. In some cases they may be in an unpaid caring role, or some other unpaid role. A young person is considered to be long-term NEET if their main activity is NEET for six months or more at a time.

Separate measures of the time youth spent on benefit and in employment are also reported. These are not prioritised. A young person's main activity in a month may be tertiary education, but if they also have earnings and benefit receipt they will also be counted as being on benefit and in employment.

The number of risk indicators a young person had at age 15 is a useful measure of childhood risk that we know is predictive of poor outcomes later in life (see Section 3). Unlike the target populations also discussed in that section, this measure is not affected by outcomes experienced by young people as they transition to adulthood, as it is measured before those outcomes occur. The youth transitions to adulthood analysis uses this measure as a way of defining risk as people enter young adulthood.

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