Statistics on vocational and other qualifications (excluding GCSEs, AS levels and A levels).
Ref: Ofqual/21/6835/1ODS, 345KB
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Main trends for quarter 2 (April to June) 2021
Many assessments were cancelled, delayed or had revised assessment arrangements in 2020 and 2021 due to the measures put in place in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic (please see the background notes for more information). The trends seen in this quarter may have been affected as a result.
The number of certificates awarded in 2021 quarter 2 was just over 933,000 certificates, a 135% increase from quarter 2 of 2020. This has also meant that the number of certificates issued in the 12 months leading to the end of quarter 2 2021 has also increased relative to the number certificates issued in the 12 months leading to the end of quarter 1 2021. This is the first time there has been an increase in these figures since quarter 1 2019. The beginning of quarter 2 in 2020 coincided with the start of the first period of full lockdown due to the pandemic, whereas by quarter 2 in 2021, most schools, colleges and training providers had opened up following the third lockdown of winter 2021 which likely explains the increase in the number of certificates issued.
There was an increase in the number of certificates awarded for all qualification levels between quarter 2 of 2020 and quarter 2 of 2021, with the largest increase in numbers being for Level 2 qualifications (from 139,345 certificates in quarter 2 of 2020 to 319,895 certificates in quarter 2 of 2021, an increase of 130%).
Quarter 2 of 2021 saw increases in the number of certificates awarded for all but one sector subject area. The largest increase was seen for Health, Public Services, and Social Care, which saw an increase from 84,820 certificates in quarter 2 of 2020 to 228,850 certificates in quarter 2 of 2021 (an increase of 170%). The increase for this sector may reflect that training and assessment was better able to take place in quarter 2 2021 than for quarter 2 2020 as lockdown was lifting and greater protection was in place from COVID-19 for Learners and those living and working in settings within the Health and Social Care sector. Only History, Philosophy, and Theology saw a drop in certificates from quarter 2 of 2020, dropping from 4,115 certificates to 1,395 in quarter 2 of 2021, a decrease of 66%.
The qualification with the highest number of certificates was the FAA Level 3 Award in Emergency First Aid at Work, up from 1,635 certificates in quarter 2 of 2020 to 20,255 certificates in quarter 2 of 2021 (an increase of 1,139%). Training and assessment in close contact sectors such as first aid is likely to have been much more possible in quarter 2 2021 with the lifting of lockdown, the onset of the vaccination programme and other measures than compared to quarter 2 of 2020.
The awarding organisation with the highest number of certificates issued in this quarter was City and Guilds, followed by NCFE and Pearson. Over the whole year, Pearson had the highest number of certificates issued, followed by City and Guilds and NCFE.
In quarter 2 2021, City and Guilds saw a 92% increase in the number of certificates awarded (up 62,510) compared to quarter 2 2020. NCFE and Pearson saw a 55% and 141% increase in the number of certificates compared to quarter 2 2020 respectively.
The dataset used to produce this release is available separately.
All our published vocational and other qualifications publications are available as part of the collection for vocational qualifications statistics.