National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs)


In 2016, an estimated 294,000 people aged 16-64 (32.6%) in the Lancashire-14 area were qualified to NVQ level 4 and above, or equivalent (GB=38.2%). In contrast, 75,000 (8.3%) of Lancashire-14 residents in the prime working age category were estimated to have no qualifications (GB=8.0%).


The annual population survey (APS) is a survey of households in the United Kingdom with the purpose of providing information on key social and economic variables between the 10-yearly censuses. The results in this report consider estimates of qualification level (by NVQ level or equivalent) that are derived from the survey. The full range of APS data sets for all areas of the country can be downloaded from the Nomisweb site.

For the year to December 2016, there were 230,069 people surveyed in the UK, with 4,753 of these interviews taking place in the Lancashire-14 area, and 2,107 in the Lancashire-12 area. The NVQ figures are for people of working age, which is 16-64 for both males and females.

The education and learning section of the government website provides details of how the various NVQ level grades compare with other qualifications.

The Lancashire results

For 2016, the annual population survey estimated that 294,000 people of working-age in the Lancashire-14 area were qualified to NVQ level 4 and above (or equivalent), whilst 75,000 had no qualifications. Only 32.6% in Lancashire-14 were in the highest qualification category, which was well below the 38.2% recorded for GB as a whole. Numbers and % for 4 NVQ levels, plus other qualifications, and no qualifications, are available in the Instant Atlas dashboard for National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs), 2016. (16-64 years) which is in the related information panel on the right hand side of the screen.

The time-series theme reveals a pattern of improvements in the percentage results at the national and regional levels for three NVQ levels, not including level 1. The trend is more volatile for the Lancashire-14 area, but the broad pattern is one of rising qualification levels. At the GB level, the percentage qualified to the highest level (NVQ 4 and above) grew from 32.9% in 2011 to 38.2% in 2016, whilst for Lancashire-14 over the same period, the increase was from 27.5% to 32.6%. The time-series chart only operates for the time-series theme and the Lancashire-12 line only appears if the cursor is pointing at the Lancashire area on the map or the references to it in the legend or table (or if any of these are once clicked on, the line should remain.)

The broad trend towards higher qualifications for people of working age, will have some impact on many people's increased employment aspirations for higher quality jobs. 

Page updated April 2017