Census highlights Northumberland's qualifications challenge

Education qualifications challenge.Education qualifications challenge.
Education qualifications challenge.
Nearly one in 20 workers and jobseekers in Northumberland have no formal qualifications, new figures show.

The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show 148,605 people were eligible to work in the area at the time of the last census in March 2021.

Of them, 7.5% – 11,140 people - had no formal qualifications whatsoever.

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The data also shows that 9.3% had at least one GCSE or equivalent qualification, 15.8% had five or more GCSEs at A* to C to levels nine to four, 23.4% had two A-levels or equivalent, and 36.7% had a degree or higher education qualification.

Combining all these figures into a composite score means Northumberland’s workforce ranks fourth in the North East for qualifications and 165th in England and Wales.

The figures also show big regional disparities from Boston, in Lincolnshire, having 19% of workers with no qualifications, to the City of London where the figure is 3.7%.

The census data also found the types of jobs people did also tracked closely with qualification differences.

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The figures show 24,722 (17.6%) of 140,777 workers in Northumberland were in professional occupations.

Across England and Wales, 5.6 million people (22.2%) worked in a professional occupation.

The Resolution Foundation think tank – which campaigns to raise standards for low and middle-income families – called on policy makers to boost and broaden people's skill sets.

Hannah Slaughter, senior economist at the Foundation, said: "Qualifications and training are an important driver of employability and pay growth.

“Policy makers and firms need to do far more both boost and broaden people’s skills and qualifications and help to 'level up' the country."