Determinants and pathways of progression to level 2 qualifications: evidence from the NCDS and BHPS

Publication type

Research Paper

Series Number



Wider Benefits of Learning Research Reports


Publication date

February 1, 2007


The commitment of the government to improving the education of the workforce has been emphasized both in the Five Year Strategy for Children and Learners of the Department for Education and Skills (DFES, 2004) and in the recently published Leitch Review, which calls for the UK to be a “world leader in skills”. Leitch also called for over 90 per cent of adults qualified to at least Level 2, an increase from 69 per cent in 2005, with a commitment to go further and achieve 95 per cent as soon as possible.
However, our understanding of the characteristics and motivations of individuals who participate in level 2 courses is limited. While their demographic features are wellknown, few studies have used longitudinal data to look at the life histories of participants and thus our understanding of what may influence or predict their participation in learning is limited. This report aims to address this issue, describing the characteristics of people who return to learning to take level 2 qualifications and their pathways to progression. The research draws on two nationally representative longitudinal studies, the National Child Development Survey (NCDS) and the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS).





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