This interactive visualisation shows the number of certificates issued in England for vocational and technical qualifications regulated by Ofqual from 1 January 2012 to 30 September 2023.
Use the drop-down selections, to display the number of certificates for an individual qualification or for all qualifications of the selected qualification type, qualification level and sector subject area.
Two trends are displayed: the number of certificates in each individual quarter and the number of certificates in each 12 month period up to the end of the quarter.
The data used in this interactive visualisation is published as national statistics by Ofqual and is available to download.
1. What does this interactive visualisation do?
This interactive visualisation allows you to explore the Vocational and other qualifications quarterly data, reporting the number of certificates issued in England for vocational and technical qualifications regulated by Ofqual from 1 January 2012 onwards.
It gives students, teachers, analysts, and others interested in these qualifications a new opportunity to explore the data collected and published over the years.
The data displayed in the graph can be changed with the drop-down selections. You can display the number of certificates for an individual qualification or for all qualifications of the selected qualification type, qualification level and sector subject area.
Two lines are displayed in the graph: The blue line labelled “quarterly certificates” shows the number of certificates issued in each individual quarter. The orange line labelled “12 months to quarter end certificates” shows the number of certificates in each 12 month period up to the end of the quarter. The “quarterly” line shows the seasonal trend across the year and the “12 months to quarter end” line shows the overall trend.
This interactive visualisation does not allow you to explore the number of students taking a qualification or their funding.
2. Where does this data come from?
Data on the number of certificates issued every quarter is sent to Ofqual by the awarding organisations.
Information on qualifications (covering title, type, awarding organisation, sector subject area and level) is taken from Ofqual’s Register of Regulated Qualifications, which gives information on regulated qualifications and recognised awarding organisations in England.
The data used in this visualisation is published as national statistics by Ofqual and is updated every quarter. Trends for each quarter are published in the Vocational and Other Qualifications Quarterly report.
In the data used in this visualisation, the number of certificates are rounded to the nearest 5 and values less than 5 are replaced with 5. Zero represents no certificates. The total number of certificates are calculated from summing the rounded values. There might be slight differences with published values where totals have been calculated using the original unrounded values.
3. What qualifications are included?
This interactive visualisation includes data on the number of certificates issued for vocational and other qualifications in England. It includes qualifications that are currently regulated by Ofqual or have been regulated at any point since 1 January 2012, regardless of their funding status.
This interactive visualization does not include GCSEs, AS and A levels, Advanced Extension Awards, apprenticeship end-point assessments (EPAs), Extended Project Qualifications (EPQ), T Level Technical Qualifications (TQs), and Principal learning qualifications.
4. What is a qualification type?
Regulated qualifications are classified into different qualification types.
Some qualification types are ‘regulatory types’ which means they are subject to the General Conditions of Recognition as well as specific additional regulatory requirements or other restrictions (such as subject or qualification level conditions). Other qualification types are subject only to the General Conditions of Recognition.
Qualification type category is selected by the awarding organisation for the purposes of transparency on Ofqual’s Register.
Qualification types provide information which complements that provided by the sector subject area classification. Qualification type can give an indication of a number of features, such as the nature of the qualification, the type of assessment, the qualification level and guided learning hours.
Further detail on the qualification types reported here can be found in the background notes for Vocational and Other Qualifications Quarterly: April to June 2023.
5. What is a qualification level?
Regulated qualifications are assigned a level from entry level through to level 8 broadly indicating the relative level of demand of the qualification. Levels are assigned by the qualification’s awarding organisation with reference to Ofqual’s published level descriptors.
6. What is a sector subject area?
Sector subject area is a classification of qualifications into business sectors or subject areas maintained by Ofqual. There are 15 sector subject areas, which each include several second tier sector subject areas. Sector subject areas are assigned by the qualification’s awarding organisation with reference to Ofqual’s published list of sector subject areas.
7. What is a quarter and a 12 months to quarter end period?
A quarter is a 3 month period. A year is split into four quarters:
Q1: 1 January to 31 March
Q2: 1 April to 30 June
Q3: 1 July to 30 September
Q4: 1 October to 31 December
Any 12 months to quarter end period includes the current quarter and the three previous quarters. For example, 12 months to quarter end for 2022 Q1 includes 2022 Q1, 2021 Q4, 2021 Q3 and 2021 Q2 which are the 12 months from 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022.
8. Where can I find explanations for trends and changes in the number of certificates?
Vocational and Technical certificates are issued all year round, but there is a clear seasonal trend. This interactive visualisation shows both the quarterly number of certificates, which is affected by seasonality, and the yearly number of certificates, which allows you to look at the overall trends.
In addition to seasonality, the reasons for changes in the number of certificates are varied. They include the many changes that occurred across the Vocational and Technical qualification landscape since January 2012. A detailed account of the context for specific quarters are provided in in each quarterly publication of the Vocational and Other Qualifications Quarterly report.
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