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Summary: Age and Employability, Skills and Lifelong Learning

young people learning Summary: Age and Employability, Skills and Lifelong Learning


  • Young people (aged 16-21) made up 41% of all entrants to Higher Education in Scotland in 2015-16. The proportion of people entering Higher Education in Scotland in age bands 16-20 and 21-24 increased between 2006-07 and 2015-16 while the proportion of students in age bands 25-59 and 60+ decreased.

  • In 2015-16, 49% of students (Full-Time Equivalent) in Further Education in colleges were 16-19. 20% were 20-24, 29.4% were over 25, and 3% were under 16.

Source:  Higher Education Students and Qualifiers at Scottish Institutions 2015-16, Learning for All: Measures of Success 2016


  • 76% of Modern Apprenticeship starts in 2016-17 were aged between 16 and 24. As of 31 March 2016, 60% of those in training following a Modern Apprenticeship were aged 16-19, and 23% were aged 20-24.

Source: Modern Apprenticeship Statistics, 2016-17 Q4


  • In 2009/10, those in the 25-34 age group were most likely of all working-age adults to be educated to at least degree level (34%). Those in this age group were also the least likely to have no qualifications (8%).

  • In 2009/10, those in the most senior working age category (55-59 years for women and 60-64 years for men) were the most likely to have no qualifications (33%). Apart from the 16-24 age group, this group was also the least likely to be educated to degree level or above (19%).

Source: The Position of Scotland's Equalities Groups: Revisiting Resilience in 2011 (2011) 


Useful Links

Age page

Employability, Skills and Lifelong Learning

National Peformance Framework

National Performance Framework

Fifty National Indicators enable progress towards the achievement of the National Outcomes and ultimately the delivery of the Purpose to be tracked.

Indicators are chosen to show how the Scottish Government are progressing on the range of Outcomes. Equality breakdowns illustrate how protected groups are progressing towards achievement of the National Outcomes, particularly ‘we have tackled the significant inequalities in Scottish society’.

National Indicator number 8: Improve the skill profile of the population, data tables

- progress against this National Indicator, broken down by Age, can be found under the 'What more do we know about the National indicator?' heading.

Publications and Outputs

Publications and Outputs

Work First Scotland & Work Able Scotland 2017 Q1&2 (December 2017) - Statistics on the participants of the Work First Scotland and Work Able Scotland for April to September 2017.  This publication contains data for age, disability, ethnicity and gender

Scottish Government Equality Outcomes: Age Evidence Review (2013) - A comprehensive review of available evidence in relation to age equality.

Scottish Government - The Position of Scotland's Equalities Groups: Revisiting Resilience in (2011) 

External Links

External Links

Please note that you will leave the Scottish Government web site by clicking on any of the following links, and that the Scottish Government and its staff are not responsible for content external to this web site. The research below has been carried out independently of the Scottish Government and the findings do not necessarily represent the views of the Scottish Government or Scottish Ministers

External Publications and Outputs

College Statistics 2016-17 (SFC, January 2018) An annual publication which contains an overview of college student characteristics, including age, disability, ethnicity, and gender. A more detailed breakdown is published in the Widening Access report published later in the year

Widening Access For All 2015/16 (SFC, September 2017) A report on progress towards the Commission on Widening Access targets. Contains data on further and higher education with analysis covering age, disability, ethnicity, gender, and socio-economic status

Modern Apprenticeship Statistics 2016/17 (Skills Development Scotland, June 2017) Statistics on modern aprenticeships, covering age, deprevation, disability, ethnicity, and gender

External Research Organisations

Scottish Funding Council - Collects information on further and higher education in Scotland

Skills Development Scotland - Collects information on modern apprenticeships in Scotland



Employability, Skills and Lifelong Learning