Skip to content


Devon is slightly better qualified when compared to the rest of the UK with 81% trained to level 2 or equivalent and 63% to level 3, slightly more than the national average. 38% are qualified to level 4 or above, slightly below the national average of 40% (level 4 is some form of higher education). However, this masks disparities between districts in Devon, with some areas much higher.

The number of students gaining AAB or better at A-level in Devon rose to 20% in 2018/19, although above the South West average, this is lower than the national level of 21.3%. 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 82% with the majority in education and training (70% approx). 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 5000 apprenticeship starts in Devon during 2019-20. Old style framework apprenticeships were phased out by July 2020 with new style ‘standards’ apprenticeships replacing them. As a result reported achievement numbers have fallen (partly due to some end point assessments EPAs taking place after 31 July). In 2019-20 the highest number of apprenticeship achievements in Devon were in Health, Public services and Care (1,600+), Business administration and Law (1,100+) and Engineering (700+).

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 20%; Retail 12%; Education 11%; Business & Finance 8%; Construction, Engineering and R&D 8% and Manufacturing 8%.

Updated 07/04/2021.

Level 4+ Qualified (December 2019)
Latest Apprenticeship Starts (2019-20)
Not in Education, Employment or Training (January 2021)

Briefings and documents

View all documents