North East folk ‘best qualified’

North-East residents are likely to be amongst the most highly educated in the country, according to the results of a study released last week.

The survey, which was conducted by the University and College Union, showed that just 5.3% of people living in the Gordon Westminster constituency lacked any kind of formal qualification or exam pass, compared with a Scotland-wide figure of 12.3%. The figure in West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine was 4.4% and 13% in Banff and Buchan, while in Aberdeen North and South, the figures were 13.3% and 6.1% respectively.

The figures revealed a large gap in attainment across Scotland and the UK. Of the 20 constituencies with the highest percentage of people with no qualifications, the English West Midlands accounted for eight of them, with four in the top ten. In Scotland, Glasgow has three constituencies ranked in the lowest 10 in Britain for people lacking qualifications. In contrast, all of Edinburgh’s constituencies are well above average, with fewer than one in ten people without qualifications.

The percentage of people without qualifications varies across Britain. In England 11.1% have no qualifications, in Scotland the figure rises above the 11.3% British average to 12.3% and in Wales it is 13.3%.

The General Secretary of the UCU trade union, Sally Hunt, said that the figures indicated that there were “Two Britains living side by side - one with education, and the massive personal benefits it can bring, and the other without.

“Education is central to our country’s future”, she continued. “Yet in some places thousands of people still have no qualifications. There is a real danger that children growing up in certain areas will have their ambition blunted and never realise their full potential.

“The coalition government needs to urgently revisit its education policies if we are to really offer improved life chances to all. Introducing fees for people on benefits who wish to study is incredibly counterproductive.”