Vocational education and training courses have been linked to a significant drop in Victoria's crime rates by University of Melbourne economists. They believe the benefits of the controversial education reforms have been overlooked.
"What has been missing is that these reforms did increase access to publicly funded training and that has had positive flow on effects," report co-author Cain Polidano from the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research said.
The paper – A Pathway to the Straight and Narrow – revealed a boost in enrolments was associated with a 12.8 per cent decline in the drug crime rate, an 11.3 per cent drop in property crime and a 4.5 per cent reduction in assaults and other crimes against the person. It compared Victoria to New South Wales, where enrolments remained stable.
The academics focused on the crime rate in Victoria between 2010 and 2013, which coincided with a 75 per cent increase in school leavers enrolled in TAFEs and private colleges.