UK women more likely to be vocational graduates

A new report has found that the UK is one of five countries in which more women than men graduate from vocational programmes

Kate Parker

OECD: More girls graduate vocational courses than boys

The UK is one of just five countries in which women make up a larger share of graduates than men from vocational programmes than general ones, according to an annual report.

In its most recent Education at a Glance report, published today, the the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development's (OECD) highlights that women make up more than half (52 per cent) of graduates in vocational programmes in the UK. This is higher than the OCED average of 46 per cent, and the EU23 average of 46 per cent. 

The four other countries were Brazil, Colombia, Ireland, and New Zealand. 

Background:  Girls taking more vocational GCSEs 'have much lower chance of doing A levels'

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Gender gap

The research also found that when it comes to enrolment (based on data taken from 2017), 22 per cent of males aged between 15 and 24 enrolled on vocational education and training, compared with just 17 per cent of women, suggesting that women are more likely to complete the course. 

On average across OECD countries, 18 per cent of 15-24 year-olds participate in vocational programmes – in the UK, the figure was significantly higher at 39 per cent. 

Overall, 63 per cent of first-time upper secondary graduates in the UK have a vocational qualification – this is way above the OECD average of 40 per cent and the EU23 average of 46 per cent. 

However, the data did show that the UK spent significantly less on upper secondary vocational programmes in the time covered by the survey compared with other countries – £7,639.77 per student compared to the OECD average of £8,841.96.

The UK also spent less on its vocational programmes than on upper secondary general ones: general programmes were funded at £9927.57 per student. The report says that this is unusual, and that the UK was just one of six countries to do so. 

The DfE has been contacted for comment. 

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Kate Parker

Kate Parker is a FE reporter.

Find me on Twitter @KateeParker

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