Press release

Employers champion part-time study in higher education

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Employers in the UK find that staff studying for part-time degrees are more pro-active and willing to take on demanding responsibilities

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Employers in the UK find that staff studying for part-time degrees are more pro-active and willing to take on demanding responsibilities, according to a new report published today (16 October 2013) by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).

The report, which focuses on employer support for part-time study also found that employers of part-time students reported a positive impact on profitability and that they considered it a cost effective option.

The report has been published alongside a review of part-time study by Universities UK (UUK) which highlights the important role that part-time students play in helping to boost the economy.

Universities and Science Minister, David Willetts said:

Part-time study brings enormous benefits for individuals, the economy and employers. Tuition fee loans are now available to new part-time students helping to create a level playing field. We will also reverse the rules which stop people from getting financial support to retrain in engineering, technology and computer science part-time. This will ensure the nation has the skills we need to keep our businesses ahead in the global race.

Institutions must also play their part to encourage more part-time study by highlighting the benefits to prospective students. I am calling on all universities to ensure that part-time options are highly visible on websites and marketing materials and that information on student finance is up to date.

BIS, in partnership with the Higher Education (HE) sector, is running a campaign this week called ‘Make Your Future Happen: Discover Higher Education’. This is a joint approach to promote the value of higher education to all prospective students, including those thinking of studying part-time.

This year, for the first time, the BIS Student Finance Tour has been extended to reach prospective part-time and mature students on Access to HE courses in Further Education Colleges (FECs). The government is also working alongside the National Careers Service to target 7 million adults who are looking for a change in their lives and are considering options of part-time study.

The UUK review found that there are a number of opportunities for providers of Higher Education to attract and support more people into part-time study and makes a range of recommendations for institutions and government.

The government is also continuing to work with the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) to monitor changes in the supply and demand for part-time provision.

Notes to editors:

  1. BIS has today published a research report: ‘Employer support for part-time higher education students’.

  2. UUK’s review of part-time and mature higher education has been published today (16 October 2013). The report looks at part-time and mature undergraduate higher education across the UK with a particular focus on England.

  3. The Make Your Future Happen: Discover Higher Education campaign runs between 12 to 18 October 2013 and will see universities and Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) across the country hosting open days, as well as over 90 Student Finance Tours for young people and parents across England.

  4. More information on student finance can be found at ‘Are you thinking of going to university or college in 2014/15?’.

  5. The government’s economic policy objective is to achieve ‘strong, sustainable and balanced growth that is more evenly shared across the country and between industries’. It set 4 ambitions in the ‘Plan for Growth’, published at Budget 2011:

  • to create the most competitive tax system in the G20
  • to make the UK the best place in Europe to start, finance and grow a business
  • to encourage investment and exports as a route to a more balanced economy
  • to create a more educated workforce that is the most flexible in Europe

Work is underway across government to achieve these ambitions, including progress on more than 250 measures as part of the Growth Review. Developing an Industrial Strategy gives new impetus to this work by providing businesses, investors and the public with more clarity about the long-term direction in which the government wants the economy to travel.

Published 16 October 2013