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.
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%.