The Department for the Economy publishes Survey of Further Education College Leavers Report

Date published: 15 October 2019

The Department for Economy has today published the following research report: Survey of Further Education College Leavers: Academic Year 2017/18.

This report presents findings from the fifth annual Northern Ireland Survey of Further Education College Leavers. Undertaken approximately six months after course completion, it provides a snapshot of the immediate added value to leavers of completing and achieving a regulated qualification in the FE sector during the academic year 2017/18.

Key points include:

  • Over two-fifths (45.9%) of FE College leavers were in employment six months after achieving their 2017/18 qualification, up from 40.8% before their course began; conversely, the proportion in learning fell from 44% to 41.1%.
  • When asked to give the most important reason for doing their course, FE College leavers were most likely to say: ‘I thought it would improve my career prospects’ (25.2%); ‘I was interested in the subject’ (17.6%); or ‘I wanted to go on to further / higher learning’ (14.6%).
  • Two-thirds (66.3%) of leavers agreed that, were they to do their course again, they would be unlikely to study at a different FE College.  Over half (51.6%) said they would be unlikely to study a different subject, while 52.9% would be unlikely to do a different kind of qualification.
  • Employment rates for FE College leavers varied depending on subject area studied. The subject areas with the highest proportions of FE College leavers in full-time employment were ‘Construction, Planning and the Built Environment’ (55.4%), ‘Business, Administration and Law’ (52.8%) and ‘Education and Training’ (50%).
  • The subject areas with the lowest proportions of FE College leavers in employment were ‘Social Sciences’ (7%), ‘History, Philosophy and Theology’ (11.1%) and ‘Science and Mathematics’ (18.3%), however, these subjects had some of the highest proportions of leavers in further full-time study.
  • Typically, unemployment rates were lower for those qualifying at higher levels.  Over one-quarter of those who had studied at Entry Level were unemployed (27.5%), in contrast to 14.5% of those who had studied at Level 1, 7% of those at Level 2 and 3.7% of those at Level 3.

This report, along with tables (including notes and technical details), an executive summary and infographic are available to download from the Department’s website.

Notes to editors: 

1. For media enquiries please contact the Department for the Economy Press Office on 028 9052 9604. Outside office hours, please contact the Duty Press Officer on 028 9037 8110.

2. Follow the Department of Economy on Twitter @Economy_NI.

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