Research and analysis

The impact of further education learning

Analyses the financial and non-financial benefits of further education and training. BIS research paper number 104.


The impact of further education learning

The impact of further education learning: data tables

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A review of existing research papers identified the non-financial benefits from further education and training, including improvements in:

  • health and wellbeing
  • social interactions and cohesion
  • social mobility
  • communication and independence
  • reduced crime

A telephone survey of 4,000 people in further education and training measured the financial and non-financial benefits of further education and training. It also explored:

  • the role and effectiveness of information, advice and guidance provided to students
  • reasons for undertaking the course
  • expectations in relation to their outcomes
  • attitudes towards further education loans
  • willingness to pay for further education
  • what might have happened in the absence of publicly funded training

The analysis suggests financial outcomes improve as a result of learning, demonstrated through:

  • employment outcomes and prospects
  • earnings
  • having the necessary skills to undertake their job more efficiently and effectively than would otherwise be the case

Non-financial benefits include:

  • changes in self-confidence or self-esteem
  • an increased likelihood of becoming more involved in the local community
  • a greater ability to make better use of spare time
  • a greater focus or understanding of what learners want to with their lives
  • more enthusiasm about, and potential uptake of, further education and learning
  • enhanced interaction between people of different generations through an improved ability to assist children with school work
  • being better able to manage health issues or disabilities
  • improved wellbeing and happiness

The analysis suggests the non-financial benefits are significant and greater than the financial (and more quantifiable) benefits. It supports government investment in further education and skills as a way to generate long term economic growth and better social interaction.

Underlying data for this report is also available.

Published 28 January 2013