Ten further education colleges in Greater Manchester contribute £3.1 billion to the local economy each year, according to a new report.
The report found that the total contribution to the region’s economy made by the ten colleges who are part of the Greater Manchester Colleges Group (GMCG) – Bolton, Bury, Hopwood Hall, Manchester, Oldham, Salford City, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford and Wigan & Leigh – equates to 5.1% of the area’s total economic output.
The independent report calculated GMCG’s economic impact through factors including increased earnings, improving skills among the workforce and enhanced business productivity, along with social savings made through reduced demands for welfare.
GMCG member colleges employ 7,861 full time staff and serve the needs of 128,000 learners each year, from young people through to adults, with more than 5,000 students studying for higher level qualifications at their local college. Member colleges have networks of public and private sector partners and customers and work with over 10,000 businesses, providing training and Apprenticeships.
The report ‘Demonstrating the Value of the Greater Manchester Colleges Group’, by international consultancy EMSI, shows the positive impact the GMCG member colleges make on their learners, society, taxpayers and the local business community.
The skills and qualifications acquired by learners who are now part of the region’s workforce after completing their courses adds £2.8 billion to Greater Manchester’s economy every year, while the economic contribution the staff and member colleges make to local businesses in the region is around £328.7 million.
As well as economic impact, the report, commissioned by the group, measured the social value of the education provided by the member colleges through savings in health, crime and unemployment. The combined social savings in the region amounts to £395.7million.
Robin Newton-Syms, GMCG’s Partnership Director, said: “We are delighted with the findings of the report. We know that as a group we have a major impact on learners, businesses and the wider community in Greater Manchester and this report illustrates the importance of the work we do, and how education contributes to the lowering of social costs and ultimately improving quality of life.
“Our member colleges play a key role in securing the region’s economic wellbeing, providing their learners with the skills they need to strengthen productivity for local employers, leading to a higher regional income and a more robust economy.”
This story gained coverage in the Manchester Evening News, Manchester Confidential, Rochdale Online and Tameside local radio.