Abstract: In 2004, National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) commissioned a piece of work called Growing the desert The final report provided a summary of the analysis of quantitative and qualitative data as it related to the uptake of education and training among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the desert region of Australia. This paper revisits that work in the light of the subsequent mining boom and an array of policy changes and interventions that have had significant impacts on the local populations of the desert region. How did the desert grow since 2004? Based on the analysis of 2011 Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Census data and publicly available NCVER students and courses data it is clear that the mining boom has changed the industrial landscape of the desert. But what impact has it had on the lives of local Aboriginal people? The paper examines the education, training and employment landscape for these Aboriginal people. It considers the implications of the new analysis for education and training providers and for the various industry groups that provide employment in the desert regions of Australia. The analysis draws on research being conducted in the Pathways to Employment project by the Cooperative Research Centre for Remote Economic Participation.