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Attract part-time students with short courses, say UUK and CBI

Image: Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology

Universities must offer shorter and more flexible courses if they are to halt the rapid decline in the number of part-time learners, according to the vice-chancellors’ body Universities UK and the CBI employers’ organisation.

Between 2010-11 and 2016-17, the number of part-time students across the UK dropped by 37 per cent. A project by UUK and the CBI discovered that high tuition and living expenses, combined with a lack of flexibility, were creating “a generation of lost learners”: people who hold A Levels or lower as their highest qualification and are being put off higher education.

In a joint statement to the government and its post-18 funding review, UUK and the CBI argued that in order to attract more part-time learners into higher education, the apprenticeship levy should be renamed the “skills levy” and expanded to cover a broader range of training, including part-time study. They added that more flexible courses, support for students switching between work and study, and better collaboration between employers and universities were also crucial to attracting more part-time students.

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