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Definitions - First Destinations 2001/02


The HESA First Destination Supplement (FDS) target population includes all UK and EU domiciled students reported to HESA for the reporting period 1 August 2001 to 31 July 2002 as obtaining relevant qualifications and whose study was full-time (including sandwich students and those writing-up theses). A first destination return was not sought from those students whose study was previously part-time. The definition of full-time is different from that used in the individualised student record because writing-up students are included in the definition of full-time on the first destination return, but not on the individualised student record.

For the 1999/2000 and subsequent data collections the HESA FDS target population excludes non-EU overseas domiciled students.

Relevant qualifications for inclusion in the FDS are postgraduate degrees, Postgraduate Certificates in Education (PGCE), first degrees (excludes intercalated degrees), foundation degrees, Diplomas of Higher Education, Certificates of Higher Education, Higher National Diplomas or Higher National Certificates. Therefore the population for the FDS return does not necessarily represent the full cohort graduating during the reporting period.

The reference date for the FDS was 3 January 2003.

Rounding strategy

Due to the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Human Rights Act 1998, HESA now implements a strategy in published and released tabulations designed to prevent the disclosure of personal information about any individual. These tabulations are derived from the HESA non-statutory populations and may differ slightly from those published by related statutory bodies. This strategy involves rounding all numbers to the nearest 5. A summary of this strategy is as follows:

  1. 0, 1, 2 are rounded to 0
  2. All other numbers are rounded to the nearest 5.

So for example 3 is represented as 5, 22 is represented as 20, 3286 is represented as 3285 while 0, 20, 55, 3510 remain unchanged.

Total figures are also subject to this rounding methodology; the consequence of which is that the sum of numbers in each row or column will rarely match the total shown precisely.

Average values, proportions and FTE values prepared by HESA are not subject to the above strategy, and will be calculated on precise raw numbers. However, percentages calculated on populations which contain less than 50 individuals will be suppressed and represented as '..' as will averages based on populations of 7 or less.

Level of qualification obtained

Postgraduate qualifications are doctorate degrees, masters degrees, higher bachelors degrees and PGCE courses. In many analyses, doctorate degrees and PGCE courses are tabulated separately and masters degrees and higher bachelors degrees are combined to form the category ‘Other postgraduate degrees’.

First degrees are first degrees, first degrees with eligibility to register to practice (doctor/dentist/veterinary surgeon), first degrees with qualified teacher status (QTS)/registration with the General Teaching Council (GTC) for Scotland, enhanced first degrees and first degrees obtained concurrently with diplomas.

Other undergraduate qualifications are all higher education qualifications not included above which are within the scope of the FDS.


Age is as at 31 July 2002.


Domicile data was supplied to HESA in the form of postcodes (UK domiciled students) or country codes. Postcodes were mapped to counties and unitary authorities and UK nations following consultation with Geoplan Postcode Marketing. Countries were mapped to geographical regions following consultation with the Department for Education and Employment. Where no data was supplied about the student’s domicile, fee eligibility was used to determine whether domicile was UK or overseas.

UK domiciled students are those normally resident in the UK, including those living in the Channel Islands and Isle of Man.

Other EU students are those normally resident in countries which were European Union (EU) members as at 1 December in the reporting period.

Subject areas

Programmes of study have been aggregated to 19 broad subject areas. The relationship of the academic content of the programme to the 19 areas has been compiled according to the following rules:

  • A programme with a single subject is allocated to its area
  • If a combination of two subjects lies within one area, the programme is allocated to that area
  • If a combination of two subjects lies within more than one area, with a major/minor split, the programme is allocated to the area relating to the major part of study
  • If a combination of two subjects lies within more than one area, with an equal split, the programme is allocated to the ‘Combined’ area.

It should be noted that all subject combinations (major or minor) containing initial teacher training (ITT) are included in the ‘Education’ subject area.

Location of institution

The allocation of an institution to a geographical region relates only to the administrative centre of that institution. There may be students registered at institutions who are studying in regions other than that of the administrative centre of the institution.

The Open University is counted as a wholly English institution. The administrative centre is located in England, although The Open University teaches throughout the UK.

Classification of first degrees

Certain qualifications obtained at first degree level are not subject to classification of award, notably medical and general degrees. These, together with ordinary degrees, have been included within the unclassified category. Third class honours, fourth class honours and the pass category have been aggregated. Lower second and undivided second class honours have been aggregated.

First destination

All former students for whom first destination data was supplied reported a main activity (i.e. a respondent’s first destination could not be given as ‘unknown’). The main activities specified by HESA, and therefore the codes into which respondents reported principal activity needed to be assigned were:

  • 01 Entered work (paid or unpaid, including voluntary work)
  • 02 Returned to/remained with previous employer
  • 03 Self-employed
  • 04 Undertaking study or training
  • 05 Seeking employment or training
  • 06 Not available for employment, study or training
  • 07 Overseas student returning overseas (no other information available).

A respondent could also have a secondary activity.

Codes available were:

  • 01 Full-time employment (paid or unpaid, including voluntary work)
  • 02 Part-time employment (paid or unpaid, including voluntary work)
  • 03 Self-employed
  • 04 Full-time further study or training
  • 05 Part-time further study or training
  • 06 Professional preparation time, e.g. portfolio preparation
  • 07 Looking for a job or course
  • 09 No other activity.
Classification Main Activity Secondary activity
Employed 01 01,02,03,04,05,06,07,09
Employed 02 01,02,03,04,05,06,07,09
Self-employed 03 01,02,03,04,05,06,07,09
Undertaking study or training 04 01,02,03,04,05,06,07,09
Seeking employment training/assumed to be unemployed 05 07,09
Other activity 05 01,02,03,04,05,06
Not available for employment/study/training 06 01,02,03,04,05,06,07,09
Other activity 07 01,02,03,04,05,06,07,09

Employment category

The employment category applies to those respondents whose main activity codes were 01, 02 and 03. Entries are paid, unpaid or unknown.

Mode of employment

Mode of employment applies to those respondents whose main activity codes were 01, 02 and 03 and describes the respondent’s mode of employment. Entries are full-time (30 hours or more per week), part-time or not reported.

Duration of employment

Duration of employment applies to those respondents whose main activity codes were 01 and 02 and describes the respondent’s own interpretation of the duration of their employment.

Location of main activity

It has been assumed that those UK domiciled respondents who entered employment but whose location of main activity was given as unknown, have remained within the UK.

The Standard Occupational Classification

The Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) was developed as an interdepartmental standard for coding occupational information in official survey and census sources, and to facilitate the job matching/placing activities of the Employment Service. An expanded version of the SOC has been created for the coding of occupational information contained in the survey of first destinations of qualifiers from higher education institutions. This classification is termed the SOC(FDS). As far as possible, comparability with other data sources is provided at the major group level.

The Standard Industrial Classification

The Standard Industrial Classification of economic activities (SIC) provides a framework for the collection, tabulation, presentation and analysis of data about economic activities. The present version (SIC(92)) is aligned with similar classifications in all member states of the European Union and is obligatory in all cases where the UK is required to transmit statistics broken down by economic activity to the European Commission.

Standard industry codes for economic activity are used to describe the relationship between the inputs and outputs of such activity. In cases where multiple activities take place, classification usually relates to the single most important activity. In the case of first destination statistics, this will usually be the most important activity undertaken by an employer (or self-employed person). Economic activities are measured by enquiring into the nature of an employer’s (or self-employed person’s) business.