Research and analysis

Learning from Futuretrack: impact of work experiences on HE student outcomes

Uses Futuretrack data to examine the impact of student taking paid and unpaid work. BIS research paper number 143.



Presents findings from a study of student participation in paid and unpaid work. It uses data from Futuretrack, which is a study of all people who applied in 2005 to 2006 to enter university in the UK during the autumn of 2006. Futuretrack collected data from students before, during and after their time at university.

This study examines the effects of different forms of work experience on students’ development of social and technical skills and their progress into the labour market after higher education.

The results show that:

  • a significant proportion of students combined full-time study with paid work, but less students undertook unpaid work
  • all types of work increase the chances of successful outcomes, compared with not working whilst in higher education
  • students who had undertaken more structured work-based learning as well as paid work tended to have the most positive outcomes
  • students who had undertaken no work had the least positive outcomes
Published 17 October 2013