Young people in low level vocational education: characteristics, trajectories and labour market outcomes

Augustin De Coulon, Sophie Hedges, Vahé Nafilyan, Stefan Speckesser

    Research output: Working paper


    Although 10% of school leavers in England start low level vocational education (normally below Level  2, ‘BL2’), very little is known about the characteristics of learners, their participation in vocational  education and their labour market outcomes.   Benefiting from large size linked administrative data for a full cohort of young people, we use  sequence analysis methods to understand the similarities and differences in the biographies of young  people  who  engaged  in  BL2  programmes  initially,  and  create  clusters  of  learners  with  similar  biographies. As a result of our exploratory analysis, we find four main BL2 trajectories which can help  policy makers target their interventions more efficiently: About 45% of all BL2 learners show a clear  progression in college‐based vocational education to programmes at higher levels, while 21% make a  transition into a persistent NEET status, mainly from dropping out in year one. Another 21% move to  sustained  employment,  mainly  after  their  first  year,  sometimes  after  undertaking  a  Level  2  qualification. Progression to apprenticeships was achieved by 13%.  Another key finding is that achieving the low level qualification started by the age of 16 leads to better  employment prospects and to higher earnings four years later. This suggests that policy should  encourage  and  support  adolescents’  engagement  until  they  successfully  gain  their  (low  level)  qualification. 
    Original languageEnglish
    PublisherLondon School of Economics
    Number of pages37
    Publication statusPublished - 2017

    Publication series

    NameCentre for Vocational Educational Research Discussion Paper series
    PublisherLondon School of Economics and Political Science
    ISSN (Print)2398-7553


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