Age 38 Sweep – Lifelong learning

50 stories
7 January 2021

Continuing our journey through 50 years of the 1970 British Cohort Study, this week we focus on the Age 38 Sweep. Just under 9,000 study members took part in a short 25-minute telephone interview which sought to establish any changes in circumstances, as well as key events in their lives since their last interview.  

Part of the survey focused on lifelong learning, and what qualifications study members had achieved since the last survey in 2004 (or if they hadn’t taken part in the Age 34 Sweep, since 2000). Out of those 2,359 people who reported getting new qualification at the Age 38 Sweep, 140 study members obtained a degree (BA, BSc), and 78 received a higher degree (PhD, MSc). An even greater number of study members completed National Vocational Qualifications (591), City & Guilds Qualifications (172) and other types of vocational qualifications (1,012). In addition, 53 obtained GCSEs, 10 received A/S Levels and 25 achieved A Levels.  

Information from the Age 21 sub-study had helped to kickstart Skills for Life, an adult education initiative, in 2001. This strategy went on to ensure that between 2001 and 2011, over 8 million British adults achieved qualifications – no doubt including some study members. 

 Find out more about the Age 38 Sweep. 


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