News story

Further education boosts economy by £75 billion

New research shows Apprenticeships generate around £40 for each pound of Government investment.

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


New research published today shows people with further education qualifications generate an additional £75bn for the economy over their lifetimes, with Apprenticeships generating around £40 for each pound of Government investment.

Download measuring the economic impact of further education (PDF, 357 Kb)

BIS commissioned the research which examined the economic value generated by Government funded post-19 qualifications. This included Apprenticeships, National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) undertaken in college and workplace settings, and Basic Skills Qualifications.

Key findings include:

  • FE participants that started a qualification in 2008/09 will generate an additional £75bn for the economy over their working lives, over and above what they would have contributed if they had not achieved these qualifications.
  • The benefits include increased wages and improved employment prospects for individuals, as well as benefits to employers stemming from increased productivity.
  • An apprenticeship is found to add the most value on average, compared to other learning streams. The return on Government investment for apprenticeships works out at around £40 for each £1 of Government funding, when taken as an individual’s first qualification at that level.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said:

“Further Education is a fundamental part of this Government’s growth strategy. We have committed to funding at least 250,000 more adult apprentices over the next 4 years than the previous Government planned for, because we recognise that they offer real opportunities to young people and equip businesses with the trained workforce they need.

“We have also freed the sector from a number of unnecessary bureaucratic burdens so it can better respond to the needs of learners and businesses.

“This research adds further weight to our conviction that further education has a vital role to play in ensuring we have the skills that will build a stronger and more balanced economy.”

John Hayes, Minister for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning, said:

“Further Education is the unheralded triumph of our education system. This research illustrates just how important it is to this country - our economy, society and individuals’ lives.

“That is why we are funding an unprecedented number of Apprenticeships and freeing colleges from unnecessary burdens. We are also helping employers, colleges and training providers to work together to boost skills through the £50m Growth and Innovation Fund.

“All these reforms will ensure that economic contribution of FE will continue to rise in the years to come.”

Martin Doel, Association of Colleges Chief Executive, said:

“This research gives valuable new insight into the powerful economic impact of post-19 education in Colleges and other FE providers. Students, Government, the taxpayer, communities and businesses are getting a strong return on investment from these qualifications.


Published 30 March 2011