Skip to main content

Employers value part-time study, says Government research

Employers recognise that the benefits of part-time study can boost productivity and efficiency...

Employers recognise that the benefits of part-time study can boost productivity and efficiency, according to a new report about improving part-time higher education.

The study explains the advantages of studying and working at the same time, the complexity of part-time provision, and possible ways for part-time study to be promoted. The research by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills was launched on 29 June.

Birkbeck is mentioned in the report as with  around 13,400 part-time undergraduate students it is the third largest higher education institution in the UK providing part-time undergraduate courses. Professor Claire Callender, of Birkbeck and the Institute of Education, acted as an expert advisor throughout the duration of  the research.

Key findings

The report emphasises how employers view part-time education favourably. It reads:  “Employers value part-time study as a good model to develop work-readiness in graduates and in providing existing employees with the skills and knowledge that can improve productivity and efficiency...Part-time students, including young students, do achieve more favourable labour market outcomes at least in the first few months after graduating.”

The study, entitled Expanding and improving part-time higher education, also highlights the possibilities created by part-time options. It reads: “Part-time provision provides opportunities for higher-level study for some people who would not otherwise have the opportunity. Further expansion of provision would increase choice and, potentially, access.”

Other key findings from the report include:

  • One-third of undergraduates study part-time
  • Only seven per cent of people under 23 on undergraduate courses are studying part-time
  • Marketing to potential part-time students, particularly young students, is challenging and there is little appetite for part-time study among school leavers who prefer to study full-time
  • Part-time students have different support needs compared with full-time students, such as flexible learning delivery, flexible assessment, and consistent and clear communication to fit study around their other commitments

Promoting part-time study

Suggestions for stakeholders to attract more people to study part-time are also made in the report. These include:

  • Universities and colleges promoting part-time study as an option to young people more strongly, including publicising the benefits of being able to work in a career-entry job at the same time as studying
  • Government to make part-time courses a priority for funding over full-time courses
  • Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) to make the part-time option more visible and legitimate
  • Employers encouraging young people to join them on high-level apprenticeships that combine higher-level study with work
  • Student Loans Company making it easier for part-time students to apply for support

Professor of Higher Education Policy, Claire Callender, said: “This is a very interesting report and shows both the importance of part-time study and the challenges facing the part-time HE sector.”

More news about: