Research and analysis

Impact of learning below level 2 in further education

Evaluation of those studying courses below level 2 in further education and what economic impact it had. BIS research paper 150.



Results of a survey of 4,000 adult learners who studied a course funded by government, through the Skills Funding Agency and aimed at developing skills and knowledge to a level below level 2 in the National Qualifications Framework.

Matched learning and employment records were analysed to see what difference the learning made to their chances of:

  • getting a job
  • earning a higher wage
  • staying off of benefits
  • progressing on to learning at level 2

Report includes separate analysis of English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) and learners with learning difficulties and disabilities (LLDDs).

Below level 2 had a positive impact on employability, wages, and time on benefits, but these effects were small overall and captured mainly by level 1 rather than entry level and by those aged 19-24.