Technical qualifications: what the DfE data says

Statistics show that those with an apprenticeship are more likely than those with a classroom-based qualification to progress into work
10th November 2020, 11:02am

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Technical qualifications: what the DfE data says

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The Government Has Published A Range Of Reports On Qualifications At Level 3 & Below - Here Is What They Say

The government today published a range of research reports on technical qualifications - focusing on qualifications at level 3 and below. This comes as apprenticeships and skills minister Gillian Keegan launched a call for evidence seeking views on how to ensure that post-16 qualifications at level 2 and below - excluding GCSEs - can support more people to progress into further study or employment. 

Today's data shows how much more likely those with an apprenticeship are than those with a classroom-based qualification to progress into work, and the proportion of learners who land a job in the area their qualification was in. 

Here are the main findings of the government's publications from this morning.

Post-16 pathways at level 3 and below

Experimental statistics on young people's transitions from education to work in England show that:

  • Students whose highest qualification is an apprenticeship are more likely to experience successful transitions into work than students with a classroom-based technical qualification (87 per cent vs 64 per cent respectively).
  • Students who reach full level 2 are more than twice as likely as those at below level 2 to follow a successful transition into work (71 per cent vs 33 per cent respectively).
  • Students at full level 3 are more likely to follow a successful transition into work than those at full level 2 (90 per cent vs 71 per cent respectively).
  • Students who reach at least full level 2 are unlikely to follow the mainly NEET pathway - just 11 per cent do so.

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Occupational pathways of technical qualifications

Experimental analysis into the occupations of young people with technical qualifications in England, published this morning, shows:

  • Two-thirds of students who studied a level 2 in business, construction, engineering, health or retail have a job related to their qualification.
  • The data also shows that the young people who enter the world of work with a level 2 are most likely to have qualifications in engineering (22 per cent), construction (16 per cent) or retail (16 per cent). It shows that 53 per cent came from classroom-based study, with 47 per cent from an apprenticeship.
  • Young people who achieved a level 2 apprenticeship are more likely to be employed in a related occupation than those who came from level 2 classroom-based study.
  • The data found that young people in employment as part of training are more likely to be working in an occupation related to their qualification than those employed in full-time jobs.
  • For students who studied a level 3 qualification, qualifications in business and engineering resulted in at least half of young people entering employment in related occupations, while qualifications in arts and leisure resulted in the smallest proportion of young people entering related occupations, 1 per cent and 14 per cent respectively.
  • At level 3, 91 per cent of all 18-year-olds in employment came from a classroom-based study, with 21 per cent holding a qualification in health, 19 per cent in the arts and 15 per cent in leisure.

Qualifications at level 3 and below: contextual information

Contextual information of post-16 enrolments on qualifications at level 3 and below shows:

  • Two-thirds (67 per cent) of 16- to 18-year-olds on qualifications at level 3 and below in the 2018-19 academic year were studying a level 3, with 33 per cent studying a level 2 or below.
  • The data shows that the remaining third of students studying a level 2 and below are more likely to have SEND (special educational needs and disability), lower prior attainment in English and maths or live in the most deprived areas.
  • The majority of adults (87 per cent) in education enrol on qualifications that are level 2 and below.
  • The data also finds that there is a higher proportion of enrolments by students who identify as having learning difficulties or disabilities (LLDD) or those who live in the most deprived areas, at level 2 or below, compared with level 3.
  • Students studying at level 1 are more likely to progress on to further education at the age of 17 than those studying at entry level or level 2. Around 60 per cent of level 1 students go on to higher study, compared with 46 per cent of those at entry level and 40 per cent of those at level 2.

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