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Workforce Skills

Labour Force Survey (LFS) data are used to measure the highest qualification levels of the working age population (16-64 years old) in England, where Level 2 equates to achievement of 5 or more GCSEs at grades A*-C or equivalent qualifications, Level 3 equates to achievement of 2 or more A-levels or equivalent qualifications, and Level 4 and above to higher education and degree level qualifications.

The tables and charts above show the educational attainment levels of working-age people. Please note that the charts differ to the tables insofar as they show the proportion of residents by the highest qualification achieved. Slide 1 shows data for Somerset, the South West and the United Kingdom. Click to slide 2 to view data for lower-tier local authority area in Somerset. Right click on either of the charts to select and view the underlying data.

About the data

The latest estimates are for 2017 and reveal that Somerset performs above the national average on the qualification levels of its residents, except for NVQ4+ (i.e. higher-level qualifications).

  • Somerset has a greater proportion of working age people with qualifications than is the case nationally, with only 4.7% of people thought to have no qualifications at all, compared to 8.0% for the UK overall.
  • Somerset has a higher proportion of working-age people qualified to at least NVQ1, NVQ2 and NVQ3 than is the case nationally.
  • 34.3% of Somerset’s working age residents have qualifications at NVQ4 level and above, compared to 39.0% for the South West and 38.4% for the UK.
  • 3.6% of Somerset’s working-age residents have some other form of qualification (e.g. vocational/work-related qualifications or foreign qualifications).

At the lower-tier local authority level within Somerset there is significant variation in qualification levels between districts.

  • West Somerset performs better for all qualification levels than is the case both regionally and nationally. It is estimated that 44.9% of people in West Somerset are qualified to NVQ4 level or above.
  • Taunton Deane also performs well. As with Somerset overall, it has a higher proportion of people qualified to at least NVQ1, NV2 or NVQ3 level than is the case either regionally or nationally, but at 38.3% it also performs very closely to regional and national averages for NVQ4+ attainment.
  • South Somerset performs particularly well in terms of attainment at lower qualification levels, with 93.94% of working-age residents holding at least NVQ1 and 84.2% holding at least NVQ2 qualifications.
  • At 6.73%, Mendip has a higher proportion of residents with ‘Other qualifications’ than any other local authority area.
  • Sedgemoor is the worst performing area on all attainment levels and has the highest proportion of residents with no qualifications.

Follow this link for an explanation of What Qualification Levels Mean from


Source: ONS, NOMIS, Annual Population Survey, March 2019