A generation of ‘lost learners’ are missing out on the chance to develop the skills at university that employers and the UK economy need, because of the cost and time it takes to study part-time. The CBI reports.
This is one of the main findings of a project set up by Universities UK (UUK) and the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) earlier this year to look at the decline in part-time student enrolments and the changing needs of students and employers.
In a joint statement to government and the current review of post-18 education and funding in England, UUK and the CBI recommend:
- Evolution of the Apprenticeship Levy into a more flexible ‘Skills Levy’ so that it can cover a wider range of training, including more flexible study
- Greater support for students moving between work and study across their lifetimes, with the education system supporting shorter and more flexible courses
- More collaboration between employers and higher and further education, to help learners progress on to qualifications between A-levels and a university degree.
Between 2010–11 and 2016–17, there has been a drop of more than one third (37%) in the number of people studying part-time across the UK.
A Universities UK survey of ‘lost learners’ – those who considered, but did not end up completing, a part-time higher education course from academic year 2010/11 onwards – found that:
- Just over half of lost learners were aged between 25-44 years of age and in full-time work. Around half held A-levels or lower as their highest qualification
- A lack of flexibility around life commitments and work during study was one of the top reasons for lost learners not starting part-time higher education, and the most common reason for dropping out of study
- Other reasons included costs of tuition and living costs when studying on a part-time basis.
Professor Julie Lydon, Vice-Chancellor of the University of South Wales and chair of the project’s advisory group, said:
“The evidence from this project shows there is significant demand from learners and employers for more flexible learning, where learners combine study with work, and other life commitments. Learning and improved life chances should not stop when you reach your 20s. It must continue over a lifetime.”
Read the full article Education system must change to support flexible study
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