NEARLY one in five people in Bolton have no qualifications, a new report has revealed.

Analysis from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) shows the town has one of the worst records in the country for educational attainment, with 19 per cent of people aged 16 to 64 with no qualifications.

It means Bolton is the 48th worst performer out of 348 local authorities — in the bottom 15 per cent.

In Greater Manchester, Oldham and Rochdale had lower attainment with 22.2 per cent and 21.5 per cent respectively, while Trafford was the best with only 11.2 per cent without qualif-ications. Based on the census there were 33,722 people without qualific-ations in Bolton.

A breakdown of the figures showed that 6,446 people has completed an apprenticeship, 3.6 per cent of the population, which placed it 138 in the table, while 24 per cent of people had been educated to degree level, equivalent to more than 42,000 people, ranking it 256.

Eighteen per cent of people’s highest qualificat-ion attained was at GCSE level graded A* to C or equivalents, making it 215th in the country out of 348 authorities.

The Bolton News has previously reported in Bolton South East, which includes Farnworth, Kearsley and Great Lever, 16.1 per cent of residents have no qualifications, making it one of the country’s blackspots for educational under-achieve-ment.

Town Hall chiefs said the figures related to 2011 and that the picture is improving.

A Bolton Council spokesman said: “We know there are significant challenges Bolton and Greater Manchester face in improving the skills and qualifications of our residents.

“Over the last few years we have seen a steady improvement in GCSE results, and our 2013 results were better than the national average.

“Through Team Bolton we are also working to provide access to jobs such as those emerging at Logistics North.”

The council also has a Skills Strategy, which focuses on supporting both young people and adults and improving their access to training, skills and employment opportunities.

The spokesman added: “The town centre Education Zone brings together Bolton Sixth Form College, Bolton College and the University of Bolton catering for around 30,000 learners. Building on the success of the zone will be central to improving the skills and qualifications of our residents.”

Only four per cent of people in the City of London had no qualifications. The national average for England and Wales is 22.7 per cent.

The national average for those being educated to degree level is 27.2 per cent.

Cllr Martyn Cox, Chairman of Children’s Services Scrutiny Comm-ittee, described the figures as a scandal, given the amount of public money spent to educate people.

He said: “Schools from the top down need to tackle to poor performance.”