Purpose ' The purpose of this paper is to examine the statistical evidence for the extent of employer training in Australia and analyse this information in the light of three major qualitative projects that have been undertaken into employer training since the mid-1990s. Design/methodology/approach ' The paper reports an analysis of the major statistical databases on employer training in Australia and also draws evidence from three major projects that used a case study method in their qualitative phases. Findings ' The paper finds that assumptions about low levels of employer training expenditure in Australia are not supported by the available statistical data. The three qualitative projects examined also support the conclusion that Australian enterprises are increasing both the quality and quality of the training they provide to their employees. Research limitations/implications ' The research projects reported in this paper were completed during the period 1994-2004. Practical implications ' The paper concludes that the research evidence supports an increasing quality and quantity of training in Australian enterprises. In recent years this increase in training activity has been partly driven by government policies aimed at making nationally recognised training more available to employers and employees. Originality/value ' The paper counters the prevailing assumptions about the quality and quality of training provided by Australian employers and shows that carefully framed government policy can have a major effect on the level of employer investment in training.