Academic year 2018/19

Detailed destinations of 16 to 18 year olds in Further Education

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Headline facts and figures - 2018/19

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About these statistics

This ad-hoc statistics release provides qualification level statistics on the destinations of 16-18 year olds in Further Education settings, who achieved a qualification at the end of study in 2018/19.  In addition to overall employment and learning destination measures for each qualification, it provides data on the industry sector of those in sustained employment and the subject area of those in a learning destination. 

This page presents a summary of the statistics. Data on each qualification is also available through a dashboard (opens in a new tab)which shows:

  • The number of learners completing 16-18 study, whose full education history is available
  • The proportion of learners progressing into positive outcomes in employment or further learning 
  • Detailed destination information by industry sector of employment and sector subject area of further learning
  • Comparative data by qualification type and sector subject area

The data and dashboard have been produced to support the aims of the Unit for Future Skills (opens in a new tab)

The feedback we receive on the data will help inform conversations about the detail and format for data to be released in the future.

Qualification destinations by level of study

Over three quarters (76%) of the qualifications achieved by those at the end of 16 to 18 study in further education (FE) settings are at level 3. Overall destination measures for level 3 are therefore closer to the average for this group of learners.

Qualifications achieved at level 3 show a higher overall sustained positive destination rate (87%) compared to other levels. This is followed by level 2 at (78%).

A higher proportion of those achieving level 3 qualifications go into sustained employment (56%) compared to other levels of study. 

Similarly, sustained learning rates are highest for qualifications at level 3 at 60% and a significantly higher proportion of learners (41%) are in sustained higher education, compared to other levels.  

Entry level qualifications also have a 60% sustained learning rate, but account for only 4% of qualifications. These qualifications are almost entirely in the ‘Preparation for Life and Work’ sector subject area.

Qualification destinations by sector subject area

  • The sector subject areas with the highest sustained positive destination rates are Science & mathematics and social sciences, both at 90%. 
  • Preparation for life and work (73%) followed by construction, planning and the built environment (75%) have the lowest positive destination rates. The data is missing some information on destinations for those paying tax through the self-assessment tax system, meaning subject areas where there are high proportions of self-employed may show lower sustained employment and positive destination rates.
  • Leisure, travel and tourism (65%), retail and commercial enterprise (64%), and health, public services and care (63%) have the highest sustained employment destination rates. 
  • Preparation for life and work (35%) has the lowest sustained employment destination rates. Qualifications in this sector subject area are mainly at entry level where learners are more likely to progress into further learning, rather than employment.
  • Science & mathematics has the highest sustained learning destination rate at (73%). This is followed by languages, literature and culture (70%) and history, philosophy & theology (69%). 
  • Retail and commercial enterprise (38%), construction, planning and the built environment (41%) and agriculture, horticulture and animal care (44%) have the lowest sustained learning destination rates.

Industry sector destinations of those in sustained employment

For most qualifications, the Retail sector is the most likely destination for those in sustained employment. 

  • There is no clear relationship between most sector subject areas and employment in specific industry sectors.   
  • Learners achieving Health, Public Services and Care qualifications are more likely to be employed in the Health and Social Care sector (24%) ahead of the Retail sector (23%).

Subject area of learning for those in a learning destination

Those in a sustained learning destination are likely to be studying in a related subject area.

Construction, Planning and the Built Environment (67%), Engineering & Manufacturing (64%) and Arts, Media and Publishing (64%) show the highest proportion of those in a sustained learning destination studying a related subject. This is followed by Business, Administration, Finance and Law (62%) and Retail and Commercial Enterprise (62%) and Leisure, Travel and Tourism (60%).

All other sector subject areas show a similar pattern, but to a lesser extent, as they are more evenly distributed across subject areas.

Interactive data visualisation tool

This interactive tool (opens in a new tab) has been developed within the Microsoft Power BI software application to provide additional user interaction with the qualification level data in this release. 

It provides users with a visualisation of outcomes measures for each qualification, including the industry sector for those in sustained employment and subject area for those in sustained learning.

Help and support


Find out how and why we collect, process and publish these statistics.

Ad hoc official statistics

Ad hoc official statistics are one off publications that have been produced as far as possible in line with the Code of Practice for Statistics.

This can be broadly interpreted to mean that these statistics are:

  • managed impartially and objectively in the public interest
  • meet identified user needs
  • produced according to sound methods
  • well explained and readily accessible

Find out more about the standards we follow to produce these statistics through our Standards for official statistics published by DfE guidance.

Contact us

If you have a specific enquiry about Detailed destinations of 16 to 18 year olds in Further Education statistics and data:

Unit for Future Skills

Contact name: Ayodele Babatunde
Telephone: 07384 521215

Press office

If you have a media enquiry:

Telephone: 020 7783 8300

Public enquiries

If you have a general enquiry about the Department for Education (DfE) or education:

Telephone: 037 0000 2288

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