Of the 1.1 million learners in 2017/18, 785,000 achieved a FE and Skills course as their highest learning aim.
73% of these learners went into a sustained positive destination in the 2018/19 academic year, this is a slight increase (below 1 ppt) from learners who achieved an FE & Skills aim in 2016/17. This represents the highest sustained positive destination rate for these learners since monitoring began in 2013/14 when it was 69%, a rise of 3 ppts.
The increase in sustained positive destination rates for FE & Skills learners since 2013/14 is due to a 1 ppt increase in sustained employment destinations (61%), and a 3 ppts increase in sustained learning destinations (24%).
Positive destinations that were not sustained have remained stable at 15% since 2014/15, a fall of 2 ppts since 2013/14.
The percentage of these learners who went onto benefits only in the destination year has increased by 1 ppt to 7% since 2016/17. The proportion of these learners who had no identifiable destination in the data has remained stable since 2016/17, and fallen by 1 ppt since monitoring began.
It is important to note that sustained employment and learning destinations are not mutually exclusive in this chart. For example, a learner may be in sustained employment, and also sustained further education.
Self-employment is reported on separately to sustained employment in this chart. Where a learner was in both employment and self-employment, they are counted within the self-employment measure here.
The sustained employment rate (excluding self-employment) for FE & Skills learners in 2017/18 remained the same as in 2016/17 at 54%, although there was a small rise (below 1 ppt) in self-employment.
Sustained further education destinations in 2017/18 have fallen by 1 ppt since 2016/17, although this still represents a 2 ppts increase from 2013/14.
Sustained apprenticeship destinations have remained at 2% since 2016/17, but a 1 ppt decrease since five years earlier in 2013/14.
Sustained higher education destinations have remained stable at 4% since 2016/17, which represents a 1 ppt increase from 2013/14.
This publication reports on a learners highest and latest aim within the year. For example if a learner studies an aim at Level 2, and a separate Full Level 3 aim, their destinations will be reported against the Full Level 3 aim. Full Level 2 and Full Level 3 are counted as higher than Level 2 and Level 3 aims respectively, and apprenticeship aims are prioritised over FE & Skills aims.
Broadly speaking FE & Skills learners who studied at higher levels had higher sustained positive destination rates, although there were some notable exceptions at the highest levels.
‘English and Maths’ aims at level 1 and level 2 had higher sustained positive destination rates than other level 1 and 2 aims, although this was a generally a result of having a higher proportion of learners going into a sustained learning destination.
The overall sustained positive destination rate of learners who had achieved:
- Full Level 2 was 78%
- Full Level 3 was 84%
- Level 4 was 86%
- Level 5 was 84%
- Level 6 was 83%
Learning destinations by level of learning achieved
67,000 learners achieved a Full Level 3 FE & Skills aim in 2017/18, of which 42% went into a sustained learning destination.
The most common sustained learning destination for Full Level 3 learners was sustained higher education at 28%, followed by sustained further education at level 4 or above at 5%.
36,000 learners achieved a Full Level 2 FE & Skills aim in 2017/18, of which 32% went on to a sustained learning destination.
The most common sustained learning destination for Full Level 2 learners was a sustained Full Level 3 further education aim at 18%, followed by sustained level 3 further education aims at 6%.
242,000 learners achieved a level 2 FE & Skills aim in 2017/18, of which 14% went on to a sustained learning destination.
The most common sustained learning destinations for level 2 learners were sustained level 2 or level 3 further education aims at 3%, followed by sustained advanced or higher apprenticeships, or sustained higher education at 2%.
204,000 learners achieved a level 1 FE & Skills aim in 2017/18, of which 15% went on to a sustained learning destination.
The most common sustained learning destinations for level 1 learners were sustained below level 2 further education aims at 4%, followed by sustained level 2 or ‘English and Maths’ further education aims at 3%.
Access to Higher Education courses
18,000 learners achieved an ‘Access to Higher Education’ course in 2017/18, of which 67% went on to a sustained higher education destination in the following year, up by 2 ppts from 2016/17.
There was wide variation in the sustained higher education destination rate by sector subject area, ranging from 91% of learners in ‘Construction, planning and the built environment’ to 32% of learners in ‘Agriculture, horticulture and animal care’.
With the exception of ‘Agriculture, horticulture and animal care’ every sector subject area saw over half of learners who achieved an ‘Access to Higher Education’ course in 2017/18 going on to a sustained higher education destination in 2018/19.
Changes since 2016/17
Since 2016/17 the rates of progression to higher education have increased in 6 of 13 sector subject areas with the largest increases (7 ppts) being in ‘Construction, planning and the built environment’, and ‘Engineering and manufacturing technologies’.
In 7 of 13 sector subject areas the rates of progression to higher education have decreased since 2016/17. The largest decrease (11 ppts) was in 'Leisure, travel and tourism', followed by ‘Agriculture, horticulture and animal care’.
The sustained positive destination rates of FE & Skills learners by region followed a similar distribution to those of all learners, with the North East having the lowest rate (66%). The highest rates were in the South West and East Midlands (76%).
Sustained employment rates for FE & Skills learners were lowest in the West Midlands (56%), followed by the North West and North East (57%). As with all learners the highest rate of sustained employment was in the South West (68%).
London had the highest rate of sustained learning (27%) followed by the North West and West Midlands (25%), whereas the North East had the lowest sustained learning rate (18%).