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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%.

Updated 10/02/2023.

Level 4+ Qualified (2021)
Latest Apprenticeship Starts (2022-23)
Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEETS) (2022)

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