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The aim of this paper is to summarise and provide analyses of the considerable body of research that investigates the costs and benefits of vocational education and training (VET). It does so from three different perspectives; the government, business and the individual.

This paper considers a broad array of costs and benefits accruing to each of these perspectives, broadly dividing them into two categories: financial (market) or non-financial (non-market). It also describes some of the challenges encountered in investigating the costs and benefits and estimating the return on the investment in VET.

Understanding the costs and benefits associated with VET enables decisions about Investing in education and training. For government, analyses of the return on investment provide feedback on the performance of the system and programs and enable justification of, or changes to, existing funding levels. For business enterprises, understanding the costs and benefits of training allows for informed decisions about how to best utilise their training expenditure. Understanding the costs and benefits of training helps individuals make informed decisions about studying.

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