Profile of Further Education (FE) learners and apprentices in UK, 2018 – Half of apprentices are 19-24 years old and FE learners often have complex lives

– The profile of FE learners and apprentices highlights the great diversity of the learners the FE sector serves. While half of apprentices are young people (19-24 years), more broadly, the sector serves a large number of adults in their 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s.
– There is a relatively high proportion of BAME learners in the FE sector (excluding apprentices, who reflect the ethnic profile within the England). In particular, the proportion of black FE learners is around three times the population average.
– Both FE learners and apprentices tend to live in relatively deprived areas (as measured by the Index of Multiple Deprivation – IMD) and are often on low incomes at the point they choose to study. Consistent with this, more than a quarter (27%) of FE learners were claiming out-of-work benefits before starting their course.
– FE learners often have complex lives which may create additional pressures and challenges while learning. Many have to juggle family commitments alongside learning (around half of all apprentices and other learners have children, typically of school age) and FE learners are more likely to have a long-term disability or illness than the general population.
– A large proportion of FE learners and apprentices did not grow up in the UK (14% of apprentices and 24% of FE learners) and, consistent with this, 22 per cent of FE learners and 13 per cent of apprentices spoke a language other than English as their main language.
– Based on the occupation of the chief income earner when learners were aged 14, FE learners and apprentices tend to come from relatively low socio-economic backgrounds. Their parents were less likely be in higher-level and professional occupations and more likely to be in semi-routine and routine occupations when the learner was growing up.

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at Learners and apprentices survey 2018: research report


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