At the same time, the number of first-time undergraduates on a traditional degree course has risen. Data presented in the report, Growth through People, reveal that the numbers taking National Vocational Qualifications fell by about 15,000 between 2005 and 2011. They also show waning demand for Higher National Diplomas and Higher National Certificates, which lost about 20,000 learners between 2008 and 2011, although that was before the recent expansion of private providers offering the qualifications.
Although the number of students on foundation degrees doubled between 2005 and 2009, in the subsequent two years it fell, slipping below 80,000 by 2011.
By contrast the introduction of a new vocational scheme, higher apprenticeships, in 2009 proved attractive, and the number had grown to about 6,000 by 2011.
Demand for first undergraduate courses rose by about 150,000 between 2005 and 2011.