Part-time students are the ultimate “hard-working people”

Part-time students are the ultimate “hard-working people”

Part-time students are the ultimate “hard-working people”

 

It’s true to say I am basis towards this blog post as recently I become a part time student myself, returning to formal education after a few years break, but fewer numbers are now studying part time. In the summer budget from George Osbourne he told us of the “record numbers” applying for university despite the rising in tuitions fees and cuts in grants. It may be true that the number of full time students hasn’t significantly changed one way or another; however that doesn’t show us the whole picture and is undoubtedly not true for part time students.


 

disabled students


 

 

The truth is part time student numbers have been dramatically diminishing; in England there has been a decline of 41% over the last 5 years. 200,000 people who have missed out on the life changing opportunity of Higher Education. We need to reverse this disturbing trend and I strongly believe we can. While we do this we also need to respect the value of apprenticeships and vocational training because university isn’t best for everyone.

Having spoken to hundreds of potential learners in workplaces, community groups and charities across the country I know many share my concerns about access to part-time higher education. It’s a cause I have become personally connected to after hearing numerous inspirational stories of students who’s lives, careers and social well-being has been enriched by part time study.

For me part time students are the ultimate “Hard working people” that George Osbourne spoke about in the budget. They study hard, often while holding down multiple jobs, hectic family lives and other critical commitments. Doing this while very often paying off their loans promptly because they are already in employment. Research carried out by the London Economics shows a halo effect of upskilling just one person in the workplace can boost the output of a whole department.


 

Labour Party conference


 

Part-time students are the ultimate “hard-working people” that the Chancellor talked about in his Budget speech. They study hard while holding down jobs and very often pay off their loans promptly because they are already in employment. Gaining skills from university level study helps people get into work if they are unemployed, improves their earning potential and career chances, with obvious benefits for the individuals and their families and the economy. But the benefits go further. Research carried out by London Economics shows a halo effect in the workplace where one person upskilling can boost the productivity of a whole department.

Like me many are coming to part-time study because they are put off by high cost of full time education and because of full time career commitments. For students like me, quite obviously, part time education is the only option.


 

Rochster and Strood


 

While I feel encouraged, that 73% of MPs say they are concerned by the drop in numbers of part-time students accessing higher education, I feel more action needs to be taken in this area. Either way, we still face a challenge to ensure part-time study remains at the forefront of the political and educational agendas. This includes boosting employers investing in staff for shorter term skills development, and looking into study intensity which qualifies for funding, currently set at 25%.

 

We all know part-time education progresses millions of lives every year by the stories from our friends, family and colleagues. The ripple effect of that education is often hard to measure or quantify to government ministers but we have seen it happening in our workplaces and communities across the county. I will continue to fight for the aims and aspirations we all share for the recognition part-time students earn each and every day throughout their daily tasks and juggling studying at the same time.

 

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