A survey into the training and skill level of the Devon workforce to map shortages and skills gaps experienced by business, with the findings for use in further plans.
For GCSE and A-Level qualifications Devon’s working age population is slightly better qualified when compared to the rest of the UK with 82% trained to level 2 or equivalent and 65% to level 3. For NVQ level 4 and above (which is some form of higher education) 39% are qualified, which is slightly below the national average of 43%. However, this masks disparities between districts in Devon, with some areas much higher. There was a significant rise in applicants to University courses in the September 2021 intake.
The number of students gaining AAB or better at A-level in Devon rose to 27% in 2019-20, although this was lower than the South West and national average level of 30%. New T-level courses were launched in September 2020 offering 2 year courses equivalent to 3 A-levels. In November 2020 5.1% of under 19’s were NEETs (Not in Education, Employment or Training) in Devon, compared to the latest national average of 6.1%. Participation has remained around 83% with the majority in education and training (about 80%). There is also a growing move to community learning and traineeships, as well as apprenticeships, including significant amounts of digital skills learning and up-skilling.
Apprenticeships form a core method of training the workforce with 5,400 apprenticeship starts in Devon during 2020-21. Old style framework apprenticeships were phased out by July 2020 with new style ‘standards’ apprenticeships replacing them. In 2020-21 the highest number of apprenticeship starts in Devon were in Health, Public services and Care (2,100), Business administration and Law (1,200), Engineering (600), Retail (500) and Construction (500).
Despite having 3 universities in the area, retaining graduates in Devon can be a challenge with only about 50% of graduates from local institutions being retained in the South West. The top employing industries for graduates in the South West include Health 18%; Education 11%; R&D 7%; Real Estate 7%; Legal & Accounting 5%; Retail 5%; Public Admin & Defence 4%; and Engineering 3%.