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Skills & Qualification Standards

Table showing the proportion of working age (16-64) residents by the highest level qualification they have in Buckinghamshire, South East and England.

In England, qualification standards are measured by National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) for adults aged 16-64. This measure includes educational attainment, but is wider than education and also indicates the ability, knowledge and skills of a person to do a job.


  • Level 1 is equivalent to fewer than 5+ GCSEs / NVQ 1
  • Level 2 is equivalent to 5+ GCSEs / NVQ 2
  • Level 3 is equivalent to 2+ A Levels / NVQ 3
  • Level 4+ is equivalent to HNC, HND degree or higher / NVQ 4 and 5
It is important to note that each NVQ has multiple criteria, for example, NVQ level 4 could be obtained through a Bachelor’s degree or foundation degree.


Buckinghamshire’s working age population (16-64) have a higher than average qualification level compared to the South East and England.


The percentage of Buckinghamshire’s working age population with Level 4 or higher qualification stands at 48%, compared to 45% for the South East and 43% for England. The percentage of Buckinghamshire’s working age population a Level 3 or higher qualification is 68%, which again is higher than South East at 64% and England at 61%. Similarly the percentage of working age residents with Level 1 or higher, and Level 2 or higher, are also greater in Buckinghamshire compared to the South East and England.

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