Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
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Further education important in getting a job, learners say

Further education important in getting a job, learners say

News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 12 August 2009

Government study shows benefits of further education to employment and future prospects.

Most college learners believe their course played an important role in getting a job, a Government report revealed today.

In a survey of over 4,800 people who had completed a further education course and were out of work when they began their studies, 41% had secured a job two years after they had ‘graduated’, up from 34% the previous year.

Learners surveyed were asked whether they felt further education helped their job prospects after they had completed a college course in 2005/6. 62% of learners now in work said their course was either vital or helpful to getting a new or different job after college.

Among those seeking employment, 64% believed their college course improved their chances of finding work. College courses were also seen by many to boost promotion prospects and job security.

Kevin Brennan, Minister for Further Education, said:

“Further Education colleges are at the frontline of helping those out of work, back into jobs. This research is especially important as it is testament to the benefits of further education felt by those who have actually undertaken a course or training.

I am delighted such a large majority of learners feel their further education experience has enhanced their jobs prospects and skills. The Government is committed to building on the work of the sector to help people gain the skills the need to get a job or set up their own business which is why we have increased spending on further education to nearly £5 billion in 2009-10.”

In addition, the report showed a substantial decrease in people claiming Job Seekers Allowance from 28% at the beginning of their course, to just 8% a year after completion.

A wide range of lasting benefits were felt by 93% of college learners as a result of their course. Under 25s were most likely to report an increase in knowledge and skills, learners with a long-term disability were more likely to report increased confidence, and a significant proportion of older learners said that they had improved their IT skills.

Going to college has also influenced many learners’ decision to continue education, with 73% likely to undertake further learning or training within the next two years. 26% have already gained a further qualification since they completed their course in 2005/6. One learner said: “The main benefit was the GCSEs I gained - without them I wouldn't have got on to my university course, so it's had a huge impact; a lasting impact.”

Maggie Scott, Association of Colleges’ Director of Policy, said:

“Many Colleges place a strong emphasis on helping people back into work through quality training, so it is pleasing to see from this research the positive influence that learners feel colleges and other further education providers are having on job prospects and progression into further learning. There have been real lasting benefits for the thousands of respondents who took part in the study.”

“There is obviously still much more work to be done to help people affected by the current economic climate and we would anticipate greater demand for training by Colleges and other providers and that they will build on the successes indicated by this new research.”

Notes to Editors

The report A longitudinal study of out of work Further Education leaners was carried out by the Learning and Skills Council on behalf of the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills. The report can be found at : The research was carried out in November and December 2008 as a follow-up to a previous survey in 2007 of individuals who had completed a Further Education course in 2005/6 and were not in work or working less than 16 hours per week when they started their course. This survey was to collect further data on the destinations of those individuals and the perception of the contribution that FE had on their prospects and current situation.

Department for Business, Innovation & Skills

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is building a dynamic and competitive UK economy by: creating the conditions for business success; promoting innovation, enterprise and science; and giving everyone the skills and opportunities to succeed. To achieve this it will foster world-class universities and promote an open global economy. BIS - Investing in our future.


Joanna Robotham
Phone: 020 7215 5950

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