Academic Year 2019/20

Further education: outcome-based success measures

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Introduction

The further education: outcome-based success measures present statistics on the employment, earnings and learning outcomes of further education learners. 

This publication covers learners who achieved apprenticeships, adult (19+) FE and Skills learners, and learners who completed a traineeship in 2019/20, and tracks their outcomes in the following academic year (2020/21). Revised data for previous years is also provided.


Headline facts and figures - 2019/20

Overall, sustained activity has fallen for learners achieving in England in 2019/20 compared to the previous year, driven by the fall in sustained employment rate. 

Of the 781,230 learners who achieved a government funded further education learning aim (including apprenticeships) in the academic 2019/20, in the following year:

  • 74% of learners had a sustained destination in employment, learning, or both, representing a 3 ppt drop from 2018/19. 
  • 63% of learners had a sustained employment destination, representing a 4 ppt drop from 2018/19. 
  • 24% of learners had a sustained learning destination, representing a 1 ppt increase from 2018/19. 

The drop in the sustained employment rate is likely due to the employment destination reference period occurring alongside restrictions within England due to COVID-19. This also contributes to the overall fall in sustained positive destinations.

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All data used in this release is available as open data for download


Open data

Browse and download individual open data files from this release in our data catalogue


Guidance

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Create your own tables

You can view featured tables that we have built for you, or create your own tables from the open data using our table tool


About these statistics

What are further education outcome-based success measures and what do they cover?

Further education outcome-based success measures (OBSM) show the percentage of further education learners going to or remaining in an education and/or employment destination in the academic year after achieving their learning aim. The most recent data reports on learners who achieved their aim in the 2019/20 academic year, and identifies their education and/or employment destinations the following year (2020/21). 

OBSM also includes estimates on the earnings outcomes of learners who achieved a Full Level 2, Full Level 3 or Level 4+ qualification and have an earnings record, a record of sustained employment and no record of further study at a Higher Education institution within the earning year. 

This publication reports outcomes by various learner demographics and type and level of learning. Where a learner achieves more than one aim within an academic year, the outcomes for the learner are reported against the highest and latest aim within that year. For example, if a learner achieves an aim at Level 2, and a separate Full Level 3 aim in the same academic year, their destinations will be reported against the Full Level 3 aim. Full Level 2 and Full Level 3 are counted as higher than other Level 2 and Level 3 aims respectively, and apprenticeship aims are prioritised over education and training aims.

What data is used in the further education outcome-based success measures?

The data uses the Longitudinal Education Outcomes (LEO) dataset, which looks at how learners move through education and into the labour market by bringing together:

  • schools, further and higher education information from the Department for Education (DfE)
  • employment information from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
  • benefit histories from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP)

All learner counts reported here relate to those learners for whom a match was found in the LEO data, therefore the counts will not match headline achievements in the FE & Skills National Statistics release.

What further data is available?

In addition to the headline measures presented in this publication, further data is available on detailed destination, earnings and progression measures broken down by geographic areas, provider, learner demographics, type/level of learning completed and qualification title.  

A number of detailed breakdowns using this data have been signposted throughout the publication, and can also be accessed using the table builder tool which allows users to build custom tables. Alternatively, the underlying data files themselves can be downloaded from the ‘Explore data and files' section above.

Provider level figures are not currently available through the table builder tool, but can be downloaded from the ‘Explore data and files’ section above.

The outcomes in this release are presented as raw figures. They do not seek to control for differences in learner characteristics that may influence outcomes over time or across different learner populations.

Rounding and suppression

Full details on rounding and suppression are available in the accompanying methodology document. 

Any percentage point (ppt) changes reported that appear to mismatch the percentages provided in the charts and tables are due to rounding conventions. The use of rounding and suppression may also mean that some charts do not appear to add up to 100%.

Overall results

Destinations of all learners

What is a sustained positive destination?

To be counted in a sustained positive destination, learners have to be recorded as having participated in education and/or employment for a 6-month period (October 2020 – March 2021) in the year following study. This means attending for all of the first two terms of the academic year at one or more education provider, spending the 6 months in employment or having returned a self-assessment record for the destination year, or a combination of employment and learning (see methodology document for further information).

A sustained apprenticeship is recorded when 6 months of continuous participation is recorded at any point in the destination year (between August 2020 and July 2021).

In the academic year 2019/20, 781,230 learners achieved a government funded further education learning aim or completed a traineeship. Of these learners:

  • 74% of learners had a sustained destination in employment, learning, or both. 
  • A further 11% had a positive destination, but it was not sustained. 
  • 9% of these learners had no positive destination and were in receipt of benefits.
  • 6% of learners had no identifiable destination in the data.

The percentage of learners with a sustained positive destination rate rose from 73% in 2013/14 to 78% in 2017/18, before dropping to 74% in 2019/20.

Sustained employment continued to fall but remains the most common destination.

  • Sustained employment has overall fallen from 65% in 2013/14 to 63% in 2019/20. 
  • 50% of learners who achieved in 2019/20 were in sustained employment only in 2020/21, whilst 12% had a sustained learning and employment destination.

The decrease in sustained employment drove the drop in the sustained positive destination rate for 2019/20. This fall in the sustained employment rate is likely due to the employment destination reference period occurring alongside restrictions within England due to COVID-19.

The second most common destination was going into further learning.

  • 24% of learners in 2019/20 went on to a sustained learning destination, an increase from 23% in 2018/19.
  • For 11% of learners this was their only sustained destination. 

Apprentices achieving in 2019/20 were most likely to go on to a sustained positive destination in 2020/21. 

  • 92% of learners who achieved an apprenticeship went into a sustained positive destination. 
  • 70% of learners who achieved an education and training course went into a sustained positive destination.
  • 59% of learners who completed a traineeship went into a sustained positive destination.

For more detailed breakdowns by provision, please see the Adult Education and Training, Apprenticeships or Traineeships accordions below.

Learning destination rates remain relatively stable over time, with slight increases in the overall sustained learning and sustained higher education rates this year.

For learners who achieved in 2019/20:

  • The sustained learning destination rate was 24%, an increase of 1 ppt since 2018/19.
  •  18% of learners went on to sustained further education.
  •  5% of learners went on to sustained higher education, an increase of 1 ppt since 2018/19.
  • 4% of learners went on to a sustained apprenticeship.

Destinations by region 

Sustained positive destinations varied significantly between regions in England.

For learners who achieved in academic year 2019/20, sustained positive destination and employment rates followed a similar pattern to previous years: 

  • The South West had the highest sustained positive destination rate of 80% and the highest sustained employment rate of 73%.
  • London had the lowest sustained positive destination rate of 70% and lowest sustained employment rate of 55%.

Conversely, London had the highest sustained learning rate of 28%, with the North East having the lowest sustained learning rate of 18%. 

Broadly, sustained positive destination rates were higher in southern and eastern regions of England, and lower in northern and western regions.

Adult education and training

Destinations of education and training learners

What is education and training?

Education and training is mainly classroom-based adult further education that is not classed as an apprenticeship or community learning. It can also include distance learning or e-learning.

Contrary to the Education & Training statistics in the ‘FE and Skills’ National Statistics, it excludes traineeships and offender learning.

Of the 781,230 learners in 2019/20, 625,970 achieved an education and training course as their highest learning aim:

  • 70% went into a sustained positive destination in 2020/21, a 3 ppt drop from the previous year. 
  • 57% went into sustained employment, the lowest rate since monitoring began in 2013/14. 
  • 25% went into a sustained learning destination, remaining relative stable compared to previous years. 
  • 10% of learners were in receipt of benefits, the highest rate since monitoring began. 

This fall in the sustained employment rate is likely due to the employment destination reference period occurring alongside restrictions within England due to COVID-19, which has also driven the fall in the overall sustained positive destination rate. 

Destinations by level of learning achieved

What is level of learning?

Most learning aims have a difficulty level. The higher the level, the more difficult the learning aim is. Further information can be found on this list of qualification levels.

How is the level of learning classified for learners with multiple aims?

This publication reports outcomes by various learner demographics and type and level of learning. Where a learner achieves more than one aim within an academic year, the outcomes for the learner are reported against the highest and latest aim within that year. For example, if a learner achieves an aim at Level 2, and a separate Full Level 3 aim in the same academic year, their destinations will be reported against the Full Level 3 aim. Full Level 2 and Full Level 3 are counted as higher than other Level 2 and Level 3 aims respectively, and apprenticeship aims are prioritised over education and training aims.

Education and training learners who studied at higher levels tended to have higher sustained positive destination rates.

The overall sustained positive destination rate of learners who had achieved: 

  • Full Level 2 was 75%
  • Full Level 3 was 82%
  • Level 4 was 79%
  • Level 5 was 89% 
  • Level 6 was 83%

Data for some outcome categories at Level 6 have been suppressed due to small numbers of learners, meaning the chart below does not fully reflect the overall sustained positive destination rate

Access to Higher Education Courses

Access to Higher Education courses are qualifications which prepare people without traditional qualifications for study at university

18,310 learners achieved an ‘Access to Higher Education’ course in 2019/20: 

  • 71% of learners went on to a sustained higher education course in 2020/21, an increase of 1 ppt from the previous year. 
  • The ‘Education and Training’ sector subject area had the highest rate of sustained higher education at 81%.
  • ‘Agriculture, Horticulture and Animal Care’ had the lowest rate of sustained higher education at 33%, the only sector subject area where fewer than half of the learners did not progress to higher education. 

Destinations by region

Sustained positive destination rates varied across regions in England for Education and Training learners. 

  • The South West had the highest sustained positive destination rate of 76%, and the highest sustained employment rate of 67%. 
  • The North West had the lowest sustained positive destination rate of 67% and the lowest sustained employment rate of 51%. 

Sustained learning rates followed a slightly different pattern to employment and overall positive destination rates. 

  • London had the highest sustained learning rate of 30%
  • The North East had the lowest sustained learning rate of 18%. 

Apprenticeships

What is an apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships are paid jobs that incorporate on-the-job and off-the-job training leading to nationally recognised qualifications. As an employee, apprentices earn as they learn and gain practical skills in the workplace.

A slightly lower proportion of apprenticeship learners in 2019/20 moved into sustained positive destinations, compared to the previous year.

Of the 145,450 learners achieving an apprenticeship as their highest aim in 2019/20: 

  • 92% had a sustained positive destination, a decrease of 1 ppt from 2018/19.
  • 90% had a sustained employment rate, a decrease of 1 ppt from 2018/19.
  • 17% had a sustained learning rate, a decrease of 1 ppt from 2018/19.

Sustained positive destination rates remain higher for apprenticeships than any other type of provision. This is to be expected as many apprentices remain with the employer following their apprenticeship, which results in a high rate of sustained employment.

Higher level apprenticeships tend to have higher sustained employment rates but lower sustained learning rates.

  • There was a 6 ppt difference between the sustained employment rate of Level 7+ apprenticeship learners, who had the highest rate of 95%, and intermediate (Level 2) apprenticeship learners, who had the lowest rate of 89%. 
  • There was a 20 ppt difference between the sustained learning rate of intermediate (Level 2) apprenticeship learners, who had the highest rate of 22%, and Level 7+ apprenticeship learners, who had the lowest rate of 2%.

However, overall positive destination rates were fairly consistent across all apprenticeship levels.

Destinations by apprenticeship type

What are apprenticeship frameworks and apprenticeship standards?

As part of the Government’s apprenticeship reform programme, apprenticeship frameworks were phased out by the start of the 2020/21 academic year. Instead, new apprenticeship standards were introduced in 2014. Apprenticeship standards are focused on quality learning, with a single end point assessment, and are developed by employers and industry experts.

In the 2019/20 academic year there were 91,100 apprenticeship frameworks and 54,350 apprenticeship standards achieved. The number of apprenticeship standard achievements will continue to increase and apprenticeship frameworks will decrease as apprenticeship frameworks are phased out.

Learners achieving apprenticeship standards were more likely to move into a sustained positive destination than learners achieving apprenticeship frameworks.

  • The overall positive destination rate for apprenticeship standards (93%) was higher than that of apprenticeship frameworks (91%). This trend was consistent across most apprenticeship levels.
  • Learners on apprenticeship standards were more likely to go into sustained employment compared to framework apprenticeships across most levels. 
  • Learners achieving framework apprenticeships were overall more likely to go into sustained learning only compared to standard apprenticeships. However, when looking at the level of apprenticeships, intermediate apprenticeships were the only level where learners had a higher rate of sustained learning destinations for frameworks than standards.

Sustained learning showed a different pattern across regions to sustained employment and overall sustained positive destinations. 

Across regions in England:

  • The sustained positive destination rate was fairly uniform, with London having the lowest rate of 89%, followed by the North East and North West with 91%. The South West had the highest sustained positive destination rate of 93%. 
  • London also had the lowest sustained employment rate at 88%, with other regions continuing to be uniform. 
  • The South East had the lowest sustained learning rate of 13%, while the North East and West Midlands had the highest rates at 19%. 

Traineeships

What are traineeships?

Traineeships are a work-based pathway programme to apprenticeships and other employment for young people aged 16 to 24 (or up to age 25 if they have an Education Health and Care Plan) with no higher than a Level 3 qualification.

Destinations of traineeship learners

Employment is the most common sustained destination for traineeship learners.

There were 9,810 learners who completed a traineeship as their highest aim in 2019/20. Of these learners:

  • 59% had a sustained positive destination in 2020/21.
  • 43% went into sustained employment.
  • 36% went into sustained learning.
  • 23% went into a positive destination which was not sustained.

Generally, the proportion of traineeship learners moving into a sustained positive destination continues to fall.

The percentage of traineeship learners with a sustained positive destination decreased by 5 ppts in 2019/20 (59%), down from 64% in 2018/19. This represents an 8 ppt decrease in the sustained positive destination rate since 2014/15 when consistent monitoring began. 

The proportion of traineeship learners going into any positive destination (whether sustained or not) was 82% in 2019/20, a 2 ppt decrease from 2018/19 (84%). This represents an 8 ppt decrease since 2014/15 (90%).

The drop in the sustained employment rate is likely due to the employment destination reference period occurring alongside restrictions within England due to COVID-19. This also contributes to the overall fall in sustained positive destinations.

The percentage of 2019/20 traineeship learners going into sustained:

  • Employment (43%) has decreased 6 ppts since 2018/19 and decreased 12 ppts since 2014/15.
  • Further education (31%) has decreased 2 ppts since 2018/19 and is back to the 2014/15 rate.
  • Apprenticeships (17%) has decreased 4 ppts since 2018/19 and decreased 9 ppts since 2014/15.
  • Higher education (2%) has remained constant since 2018/19 and increased 1 ppt since 2014/15.

Explore traineeships data

You can create your own tables looking at traineeships data by using the table builder tool to explore the underlying data file 'Destinations by demographics and provision (NAT01)’.  

The following tables also offer a range of useful breakdowns:

File subject What is available in the file
Traineeships - 2013/14 to 2019/20

Academic year: 2013/14 to 2019/20

Learner type: Traineeship learners only

Indicators:  All employment and education destination measures

Filters: None

Traineeships by demographics - 2019/20

Academic year: 2019/20

Learner type: Traineeship learners only

Indicators:  All employment and education destination measures

Filters: Gender, benefit status, BAME status

Traineeships data

Completions were recorded under a slightly different method in 2013/14, making the figures for 2013/14 less comparable to later years. As such, comparisons are made to the 2014/15 academic year for rate changes over time.

The number of traineeship learners completing their course is reported on, rather than the number achieved, as the definition of ‘achieving’ a traineeship is based on the learner’s outcome.

Note that some traineeships go on to complete further aims at a higher level in the same academic year, and a learner's outcomes are reported against the highest aim. Therefore, traineeship numbers presented here will be lower than those presented in the ‘Further education and skills’ publication

Percentages are calculated using unrounded figures, discrepancies in sum totals are due to rounding.

Community learning

What is community learning?

Community learning includes a range of community based and outreach learning opportunities, primarily managed and delivered by local authorities and general further education colleges, and designed to bring together adults (often of different ages and backgrounds).

There were 276,290 learners whose highest aim was in community learning in 2019/20. Community learners are a distinct group from the 781,230 learners reported on in other sections of this publication.

Of these learners, in the year following their learning aim:

  • 62% had a sustained positive destination.
  • 56% were in sustained employment.
  • 12% were in sustained learning.
  • 30% were in some form of learning whether sustained or otherwise.

Why do so many community learners have positive destinations that are not sustained?

There is a large increase in learning destination rates when including the non-sustained learning. This is because community learners typically move into another community learning course or other qualifications that are structured in a similar way to community learning. That is to say that these courses tend to be short but intensive.

Explore data on community learning

You can create your own tables looking at community learners by using the table builder tool to explore the underlying data file Destinations of community learners by demographics (NAT02)’ 

The following tables also offer a range of useful breakdowns:

File subject What is available in the file
Community learners - 2013/14 to 2019/20

Academic year: 2013/14 to 2019/20

Indicators:  All employment and education destination measures

Filters: Provision type

Community learners by demographics - 2019/20

Academic year: 2019/20

Indicators: All employment and education destination measures

Filters: Gender, BAME status, age band

Earnings

Earnings five years post training

Earnings steadily increase each year after achievement for all levels of learning.

Median annualised earnings one year after study for learners who achieved in academic year 2014/15 were:

  • £15,530 for intermediate apprenticeships - rising 34% to £20,780 five years after study.
  • £17,560 for advanced apprenticeships - rising 30% to £22,880 five years after study.
  • £20,810 for Level 4 higher apprenticeships - rising 48% to £30,900 five years after study.
  • £25,370 for Level 5 higher apprenticeships - rising 12% to £28,310 five years after study.
     
  • £14,620 for Full Level 2 education & training courses - rising 26% to £18,470 five years after study.
  • £12,280 for Full Level 3 education & training courses - rising 54% to £18,850 five years after study.
  • £17,860 for Level 4 education & training courses - rising 30% to £23,170 five years after study.
  • £26,730 for Level 5 education & training courses - rising 11% to £29,640 five years after study.

For all levels of learning in both apprenticeship and education and training, earnings steadily increase each year after achievement. Aside from Level 5 courses, apprenticeships had higher levels of earnings one year after study than equivalent level education and training courses. 

Earnings one year post training

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) dataset was matched to Longitudinal Education Outcomes (LEO) and FE Individualised Learner Record (ILR) data, and a flag was created for learners who had been in receipt of the scheme for at least one week in 2020/21.

The proportion of learner cohorts who were in receipt of a CJRS grant have been included to provide some context to earnings figures. This only includes learners who were furloughed and paid with the aid of the CJRS. Employers were able to furlough employees and pay them without the aid of the scheme, but these learners would not be counted in this publication.

Some apprentices would receive more than 80% of their usual wages while on a furlough claimed for via CJRS. This is because they were enabled to continue with learning activities and the employer would have had to top up the furlough payments to ensure they met the apprentice rates of National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage for time spent training. 

Learners who achieved higher levels of learning tended to have higher median earnings one year after training.

For learners who achieved their course in academic year 2019/20, median annualised earnings in the first full tax year after training tended to correspond with the level of learning, with higher median earnings for those who had achieved higher level training:

  • £18,160 for intermediate apprenticeships (43% of this cohort were in receipt of a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grant for at least a week during 2020/21).
  • £21,150 for advanced apprenticeships (42% of this cohort were in receipt of a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grant for at least a week during 2020/21).
  • £27,330 for higher (Level 4) apprenticeships (19% of this cohort were in receipt of a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grant for at least a week during 2020/21).
  • £31,910 for higher (Level 5) apprenticeships (13% of this cohort were in receipt of a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grant for at least a week during 2020/21).
  • £34,620 for higher (Level 6) apprenticeships (8% of this cohort were in receipt of a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grant for at least a week during 2020/21).
  • £38,780 for higher (Level 7+) apprenticeships (6% of this cohort were in receipt of a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grant for at least a week during 2020/21).

 

  • £14,570 for Full Level 2 education and training courses (45% of this cohort were in receipt of a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grant for at least a week during 2020/21).
  • £14,220 for Full Level 3 education and training courses (46% of this cohort were in receipt of a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grant for at least a week during 2020/21).
  • £17,000 for Level 4 education and training courses (38% of this cohort were in receipt of a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grant for at least a week during 2020/21).
  • £19,130 for Level 5 education and training courses (32% of this cohort were in receipt of a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grant for at least a week during 2020/21).
  • £12,420 for Level 6 education and training courses (100% of this cohort were in receipt of a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grant for at least a week during 2020/21).

Median annualised earnings vary considerably between sector subject areas for Full Level 3 education and training learners.

One year after study, median annualised earnings for learners who achieved a Full Level 3 education and training course in academic year 2019/20 were: 

  • Highest in ‘Agriculture, Horticulture and Animal Care’ at £18,030 (42% of this cohort were in receipt of a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grant for at least a week during 2020/21).
  • Lowest in ‘Arts, Media and Publishing’ at £9,480 (60% of this cohort were in receipt of a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grant for at least a week during 2020/21, the highest rate for learners at this level). 

Within some sector subject areas, earnings had a wide range between the upper and lower quartiles of earnings: 

  • This was widest in ‘Leisure, Travel and Tourism' for which the lower quartile was £8,800 and the upper quartile was £21,360.
  • Followed by ‘Science and Mathematics’, which ranged from £6,750 at the lower quartile to £18,240 at the upper quartile and ‘Health, Public Services and Care’, for which the lower quartile was £10,180 and the upper quartile was £21,200.

Large variations in median annualised earnings can also be seen for advanced apprenticeships across sector subject areas. 

One year after study, median annualised earnings for learners who achieved an advanced apprenticeship in academic year 2019/20 were highest in: 

  • Business Management (£31,040 with 27% of this cohort in receipt of a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grant for at least a week during 2020/21).
  • Engineering (£30,720 with 61% of this cohort in receipt of a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grant for at least a week during 2020/21).
  • Manufacturing Technologies (£28,590 with 39% of this cohort in receipt of a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grant for at least a week during 2020/21).

They were the lowest in: 

  • Service Enterprises (£13,310 with 82% of this cohort in receipt of a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grant for at least a week during 2020/21).
  • Direct Learning Support (£14,250 with 13% of this cohort in receipt of a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grant for at least a week during 2020/21).
  • Sport, Leisure and Recreation (£15,260 with 68% of this cohort in receipt of a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grant for at least a week during 2020/21).

Where does earnings data come from?

Earnings estimates are based on information recorded through the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) system used to collect Income Tax and National Insurance from employment by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC). Learners are only included in the figures if they have an earnings record on the P14 (HMRC data) and a record of sustained employment on the P45 (HMRC data) or in the Real Time Information submitted to HMRC in more recent years, and no record of further study at a Higher Education institution. 

Limitations of earnings data

The PAYE records from HMRC do not include reliable information on the hours worked in employment so it is not possible to accurately distinguish between learners in full time and part time employment. 

See the quality and methodology information that accompanies this release for more detail.

When interpreting the results below, it should be remembered that some of the difference in earnings could be a result of factors other than the qualification achieved, such as: 

  • the number and proportion of achievers in part time employment,
  • the employment history of achievers,
  • pay conditions within the local labour market,
  • any additional income recorded through the self-assessment tax system,
  • characteristics of individual learners.
  • proportion of learners in receipt of the furlough scheme

The outcomes in this release are presented as raw figures. They do not seek to control for differences in learner characteristics that may influence outcomes over time or across different learner populations.

Progression

Progression into higher level of study

'Sustained progression from achieved aim' details the proportion of learners with a sustained further learning aim, who went on to sustained study at a higher level than they just achieved.

Two thirds of learners who moved on to a sustained learning aim progressed into a higher level of study.

  • 66% of learners with a sustained learning destination progressed to a higher level of learning in the 2020/21 academic year than the level they had achieved in 2019/20, a 1 ppt increase from the previous year.

Learners who achieved an apprenticeship were more likely to progress to a higher level of learning than learners studying an education and training course.

  • The percentage of apprenticeship learners progressing onto a higher level of sustained learning in 2020/21 than they had achieved in 2019/20 (89%) was 25 ppts higher than for education and training learners (64%).
  • The rate of progression for apprenticeship learners has increased over time, likely due to the increase in the number of learners undertaking higher (Level 4+) apprenticeships. Progression rates for education and training have remained broadly stable.

Rates of progression to a higher level of learning varied considerably by level of learning achieved.

  • There was considerable variation in progression from an education and training course to a higher level of learning by level, ranging from 26% for Level 2 ESOL courses, to 89% for learners at Full Level 3.
  • Progression also varied for apprenticeships depending on level of aim. Rates ranged from 22% for Higher (Level 7+) apprenticeships to 94% for Intermediate and Higher (Level 4) apprenticeships.

Progression of young learners

The Department has used the National Pupil Database (NPD) in conjunction with the Individualised Learner Record (ILR) and Higher Education Statistics Authority (HESA) data to detail students’ attainment throughout their educational history. The resulting dataset includes attainment records from schools, and further and higher education institutions allowing for robust comparisons over time.

This has enabled experimental statistics on progression to be calculated for those learners whose full educational history has been recorded. This cohort is limited to young learners - defined as those who are 24 and under.

Please note that the data displayed in this section of the publication is experimental. This should be taken into consideration when using these figures.

Of the 781,230 learners achieving their further education aim in 2019/20, 190,190 (24%) were 24 or under, and had a full educational history recorded by the department. 

The rest of the analysis in this section relates specifically to this group of learners.

Young learners studying at this level of learning for the first time

  • Almost a quarter (24%) of young learners were studying at their level of learning for the first time in 2019/20, a 2 ppt rise from 2018/19 and the highest rate since monitoring began in 2013/14.
  • Apprenticeship learners were more likely to be studying at their level of learning for the first time (36%) than education and training learners (15%).
  • Since 2015/16, the rate of young learners who were studying at their level of learning for the first time has risen for apprenticeship learners, and fallen for education and training learners. However, rates for both provision types have risen slightly in the last year.

Broadly speaking, young education and training learners at higher levels of learning were more likely to be achieving their level of learning for the first time.

  • There was wide variation in the rate of young education and training learners studying at their level for the first time in 2019/20, ranging from 2% for Level 1 to 92% for Level 4 and Level 6.

Young apprenticeship learners also showed a general trend of more learners at higher levels achieving for the first time.

  • 24% of those achieving Intermediate aims in 2019/20 were achieving at that level for the first time, while the same was true for 89% of those achieving Higher (Level 7+) apprenticeships.
  • While, in general, more apprenticeship learners at higher levels were achieving for the first time, the rate for learners on Level 5 and 6 apprenticeships was actually slightly lower than for Level 4 apprenticeships.

Data on studying a particular level of learning for the first time is presented to provide further insight into learners’ pathways through further education and training. Care should be taken when interpreting the data, particularly when making comparisons between different subgroups or seeking to draw wider conclusions. In particular, there may be valid reasons for a learner to take a qualification at a level of learning they have previously achieved, including: 

  • Where a learner is moving from an academic to a technical pathway, and needs to develop the core technical skills and knowledge that will enable them to progress to higher levels.
  • Where the qualifications are complementary, such as a qualification in English or maths that is required to access a technical or vocational qualification at the same level.
  • Where a learner is retraining in order to develop a new career pathway, or to update their skills after a significant career break in order to re-enter employment.

Young learners progressing to highest level of sustained learning to date

'Sustained progression for learner overall’ gives the percentage of learners that progressed on to a sustained level of learning higher than they have attained at any point in their educational history.

Of the 781,230 learners in 2019/20, 57,210 (7%) were 24 or under, had a full educational history recorded by the department, and went into a sustained learning destination. The analysis in this section relates specifically to this group of learners.

The proportion of young learners progressing to their highest ever level of sustained learning is at the highest rate since monitoring began.

  • 62% of these young learners in 2019/20 progressed into their highest level of learning to date in 2020/21. This rate has steadily increased over time and is now 5 ppts higher than when monitoring began in 2013/14.

Young learners who achieved an apprenticeship were more likely to progress to their highest level of sustained learning to date than learners studying an education and training course.

  • The percentage of apprenticeship learners progressing into their highest level of sustained learning in 2020/21 (74%) was 17 ppts higher than for education and training learners (57%).

Rates of progression to the highest level of sustained learning to date in 2020/21 varied considerably by level of learning achieved in 2019/20.

  • There was considerable variation by level in terms of progression from an education and training course to the highest sustained level of learning so far. This rate ranged from 30% for Level 1 ESOL courses, to 89% for learners at Level 4.
  • Progression also showed variation between levels for apprenticeship learners, although the range was much narrower than for education and training learners. Rates ranged between 63% for Level 6 apprenticeships, and 95% for Level 4 and 5 apprenticeships. 

Learner characteristics

Benefit learners

Benefit learners were considerably less likely to move into a sustained positive destination than learners who were not on benefits.

About a quarter (24%) of learners were on benefits at the start of their learning. Of these 190,460 benefit learners:

  • 48% went into a sustained positive destination, 34 ppts lower than learners who were not on benefits (82%).
  • 33% went into sustained employment, 40 ppts lower than learners not on benefits (73%).
  • 20% went into sustained learning, 5 ppts lower than learners not on benefits (25%).

Learners who were on benefits at the beginning of their learning aim in 2019/20 were more likely to have a destination that was not sustained (21%) compared to learners who were not on benefits (8%), and were far more likely to be on benefits only with no positive destination (29%) compared to learners who were not on benefits (2%).

Differences in destination rates may be partially explained by the levels of learning undertaken by benefit learners.

  • Learners on benefits tended to achieve lower-level learning aims than learners not on benefits. 57% of learners on benefits took Entry Level or Level 1 learning aims, compared to 29% of learners who were not on benefits.
  • In addition, only 6% of learners on benefits undertook learning at Level 3 or above, compared to 24% of learners who were not on benefits.

Benefit learners who achieved apprenticeships were most likely to move into a sustained positive destination, compared to other provision types.

The outcomes of benefit learners varied greatly depending on the type of provision completed:

  • Those who completed apprenticeships had the highest sustained positive destination rate of 82%.
  • Those who completed education and training courses had a sustained positive destination rate of 48%.
  • Those who completed traineeships had a sustained positive destination rate of 37%.

Ethnic minority learners

Learners declaring themselves as from a minority ethnic group were less likely than white learners to move into sustained employment or a sustained positive destination overall, but were more likely to move into sustained learning.

Over a quarter of learners (28%) were from a minority ethnicity background. Of these 218,900 learners:

  • 67% went into a sustained positive destination, 10 ppts lower than white learners (77%).
  • 47% went into sustained employment, 22 ppts lower than white learners (69%).
  • 34% went into sustained learning, 15 ppts higher than white learners (19%).

Ethnic minority learners were also more likely to have a positive destination that wasn't sustained (15% vs 10% for white learners), to be on benefits only (10% vs 8% for white learners), or to not have any destination recorded in the data (8% vs 5% for white learners).

Differences in destination rates may be partially explained by the levels of learning undertaken by ethnic minority learners.

There is a skew towards lower-level qualifications for ethnic minority learners, where 57% of learners undertook an Entry or Level 1 aim compared to 27% of white learners.

Explore learner characteristics data

You can create your own tables looking at outcomes by various learner characteristics by using the table builder tool to explore the underlying data file Destinations by demographics and provision (NAT01)’ .

The following tables also offer a range of useful breakdowns:

File subject What is available in the file
Destinations and earnings by ethnicity - 2013/14 to 2019/20

Academic year: 2013/14 to 2019/20

Indicators: All employment and learning destinations, earnings measures

Filters: Ethnicity

Destinations and earnings by benefit learner status - 2013/14 to 2019/20

Academic year:  2013/14 to 2019/20

Indicators: All employment and learning destinations, earnings measures

Filters: Benefit learner status

Destinations and earnings by learning difficulty status  - 2013/14 to 2019/20

Academic year: 2013/14 to 2019/20

Indicators: All employment and learning destinations, earnings measures

Filters: Learning difficulty status

Destinations and earnings by gender - 2013/14 to 2019/20

Academic year: 2013/14 to 2019/20

Indicators: All employment and learning destinations, earnings measures

Filters: Gender

Geographical breakdowns

Explore geographical tables

The following tables offer a range of useful breakdowns for geographical data:

What is ‘English devolved area’?

‘English devolved area’ is used to refer to combined authorities, mayoral combined authorities, and the Greater London Authority

File subject What is available in the file
Destinations by local authority district - 2019/20

Geography: Local Authority District

Academic year: 2019/20

Indicators: All employment and education destination measures

Destinations by local educational authority - 2019/20

Geography: Local Education Authority

Academic year: 2019/20

Indicators: All employment and education destination measures

Destinations by English devolved area - 2013/14 to 2019/20

Geography: English Devolved Area

Academic year: 2013/14 to 2019/20

Indicators:  All employment and education destination measures

Earnings by English devolved area - 2013/14 to 2019/20

Geography: English Devolved Area

Academic year: 2013/14 to 2019/20

Indicators:  Number of learners with earnings, lower quartile annualised earnings, median annualised earnings, upper quartile annualised earnings

Destinations by local enterprise partnership - 2015/16 to 2019/20

 

Geography: Local Enterprise Partnership

Academic year: 2015/16 to 2019/20

Indicators:  All employment and education destination measures

Earnings by local enterprise partnership - 2015/16 to 2019/20

Geography: Local Enterprise Partnership

Academic year: 2015/16 to 2019/20

Indicators: Number of learners with earnings, lower quartile annualised earnings, median annualised earnings, upper quartile annualised earnings

Create your own geographical tables

You can create your own tables looking at different geographical breakdowns by using the table builder tool to explore the following data files.

File subject What is available in the file
Destinations by local authority district, provision, level of learning and demographics (LAD01)

Geography: National, Regional, Local Authority District

Academic year: 2013/14 to 2019/20

Indicators: Destination measures, earnings measures

Filters: Age band, gender, learning difficulty status, provision type, level of learning

Destinations by local authority district provision, level of learning and sector subject area (LAD02)

Geography: National, Regional, Local Authority District

Academic year: 2013/14 to 2019/20

Indicators: Destination measures, earnings measures

Filters: Provision type, level of learning, sector subject area tier 1, sector subject area tier 2

Destinations by local education authority, provision, level of learning and demographics (LEA01)

Geography: National, Regional, Local Education Authority

Academic year: 2013/14 to 2019/20

Indicators: Destination measures, earnings measures

Filters: Age band, gender, learning difficulty status, provision type, level of learning

Destinations by local education authority, provision, level of learning and sector subject area (LEA02)

Geography: National, Regional, Local Education Authority

Academic year: 2013/14 to 2019/20

Indicators: Destination measures, earnings measures

Filters: Provision type, level of learning, sector subject area tier 1, sector subject area tier 2

Destinations by English devolved area, provision, level of learning and demographics (EDA01)

Geography: National, Regional, English Devolved Area

Academic year: 2013/14 to 2019/20

Indicators: Destination measures, earnings measures

Filters: Age band, gender, learning difficulty status, provision type, level of learning

Destinations by English devolved area, provision, level of learning and sector subject area (EDA02)

Geography: National, Regional, English Devolved Area

Academic year: 2013/14 to 2019/20

Indicators: Destination measures, earnings measures

Filters: Provision type, level of learning, sector subject area tier 1, sector subject area tier 2

Destinations by local enterprise partnership, provision, level of learning and sector subject area (LEP01)

Geography: National, Regional, Local Enterprise Partnership

Academic year: 2013/14 to 2019/20 (LEP level data only available from 2015/16 onwards)

Indicators: Destination measures, earnings measures

Filters: Provision type, level of learning, sector subject area tier 1, sector subject area tier 2

Provider and qualification breakdowns

Downloadable provider data

Provider level figures are not currently available through the table builder tool, but can be downloaded from the ‘Explore data and files’ section above. The table below provides a summary of information available in each file.

File subject What is available in the file
Destinations by provider, provider type and benefit status (PRV01)

Data Level: National, regional, provider

Academic year: 2013/14 to 2019/20

Learner type: All learners

Indicators: Destination measures

Filters: Provider type, provision type, benefit learner status

Destinations by provider, provision, level of learning and demographics (PRV02)

Data Level: National, regional, provider

Academic year: 2013/14 to 2019/20

Learner type: All learners

Indicators: Destination measures

Filters: Provider type, provision type, level of learning, age band, gender, benefit learner status

Destinations of community learners by provider, provision and benefit status (PRV03)

Data Level: National, regional, provider

Academic year: 2013/14 to 2019/20

Learner type: Community learners only

Indicators: Destination measures

Filters: Provider type, provision type, benefit learner status

Destinations by provider, provision, level of learning and sector subject area (PRV04)

Data Level: National, regional, provider

Academic year: 2013/14 to 2019/20

Learner type: All learners

Indicators: Destination measures

Filters: Provider type, provision type, level of learning, sector subject area tier 1, sector subject area tier 2

Downloadable qualification data 

File subjectWhat is available in the file
Destinations by qualification title, provision and sector subject area (QUA01)

Data Level: National, qualification

Academic year: 2013/14 to 2019/20

Learner type: All learners

Indicators: Destination measures, earnings measures

Filters: Age band, provision type, level of learning, sector subject area tier 1, sector subject area tier 2, access to HE status, qualification title

Progression of young learners by qualification title (QUA02)

Data Level: National, qualification

Academic year: 2013/14 to 2019/20

Learner type: Young learners only

Indicators: Destination measures, progression measures

Filters: Age band, free school meals status, provision type, level of learning, sector subject area tier 1, sector subject area tier 2, qualification title

Industry sections of employment

What is an industry section?

The UK Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) of economic activities is used to classify businesses by the type of activity they do. Using the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) of economic activities, there are 21 broad industry sections, which are used within this publication. For more information see the Standard industrial classification of economic activities or the UK Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) Hierarchy.

Of the 491,180 learners who had a sustained employment destination in 2020/21: 

  • 20% had employment in the ‘Human health and social work activities’ industry section, the most common industry section destination.
  • 15% had employment in the ‘Education’ industry section.
  • 10% had employment in the ‘Administrative and support service activities’ industry section.
  • 10% had employment in the ‘Wholesale and retail trade - repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles’ industry section.
PublicationDescription
Key Stage 4 destination measuresData on students going into education, employment and training destinations after completing Key Stage 4 study.
16 - 18 destination measuresData on students going into education, employment and training destinations after completing 16-18 study.
Graduate outcomesEmployment and earnings outcomes of higher education graduates by subject studied and graduate characteristic
Graduate outcomes: provider level dataEmployment and earnings outcomes of higher education first degree graduates by provider, subject studied and graduate characteristics
Graduate outcomes: postgraduate outcomesEmployment and earnings outcomes for those who graduated with a level 7 (masters) or level 8 (doctoral) postgraduate degree by subject studied, current region and domicile.  
Post-16 pathways at level 3 and belowExperimental statistics on young people's transitions from education to work in England
Measuring the net present value of Further Education in England 2018 to 2019Estimates of the economic return from further education qualifications started in academic year 2018 to 2019.
Further Education Skills IndexIndex showing how the aggregate value of the skills supplied by the Further Education system each year has changed over time
Post-16 education: highest level of achievement by age 25Research analysing school leavers’ progress through post-16 education and into the labour market.
The earnings differentials associated with vocational education and trainingResearch analysing the economic benefits to an individual from achieving further education qualifications.
Further education qualifications in maths and English: returns and benefitsResearch analysing the economic benefits associated with further education qualifications in maths and English.
Adult further education: measuring success - detailed proposalsConsultation and response on detailed proposals for using and publishing outcome-based success measures for adult further education.
Further education: comparing labour market economic benefits from qualifications gainedEstimates the economic benefits to an individual from achieving further education qualifications.
Further education: impact of skills and training on the unemployedThis research estimates the economic benefits to unemployed individuals from achieving further education qualifications.
Longitudinal Education Outcomes study: how we use and share dataHow the government shares and uses personal data as part of the 'Longitudinal Education Outcomes study'.
Occupational pathways of technical qualificationsExperimental analysis into the occupations of young people with technical qualifications in England.
Labour market outcomes disaggregated by subject area using the Longitudinal Education Outcomes (LEO) dataResearch showing the labour market benefits associated with vocational qualifications, disaggregated by qualification level, type and sector subject area.
The value of progression in further educationResearch showing the labour market benefits associated with progression in further education, disaggregated by qualification level, type and sector subject area.

Qualifications interactive data visualisation tool

To view the outcome-based success measures interactive data visualisation tool please use the following link: Outcome-based success measures interactive data visualisation tool

This tool focuses on three main themes of outcomes. 

Qualification outcomes: Key outcomes statistics for individual FE qualifications - who are the learners, and what did learners go on to do. 

Subject area outcomes: Outcomes and most popular qualifications for each sector subject area. 

Geographic outcomes: How did outcomes vary across England for each sector subject area. 

This interactive dashboard is a relatively new service that we have developed for outcome-based success measures data. The aim is to allow users to interrogate effectively the large data source and create bespoke tables and charts based on specific interests. 

Help and support

Methodology

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

Official statistics

These are Official Statistics and have been produced in line with the Code of Practice for Official 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.

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