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North West

  • There are over 5,800 employers in the lifelong learning sector in the North West, including:

- 58 further education colleges, including general further education colleges, specialist colleges and 6th form colleges

- 14 higher education institutions, plus the Open University

- over 5,500 community learning and development providers, including adult and community learning, community development, community education, development education, family learning, working with parents and youth work

- approximately 70 libraries and archives services

- approximately 150 Learning and Skills Council funded work-based learning providers, plus other privately funded and voluntary organisations

  • 80% of lifelong learning employers in the region employ less than 10 staff, which is in line with the figure for the lifelong learning sector across England.
  • The lifelong learning sector in the North West accounts for a total output (at basic prices) of approximately £1.2 billion.

Workforce statistics:

  • Approximately 111,000 people work in the lifelong learning sector in the North West. This is around 13% of the lifelong learning workforce in England.
  • 51% of the workforce is aged between 45-64 years. This is most evident within the libraries workforce where 67% of staff are aged 45 years and over.
  • 62% of the workforce is female.
  • 67% of the workforce is employed full-time.
  • 55% of the workforce is employed in professional roles such as teachers, lecturers, librarians and youth workers. 15% are in associate professional roles such as youth support workers, learning support staff, technical specialists and library assistants.

Qualification profile of workforce:

  • 73% of the workforce is qualified to the equivalent of NVQ level 4 or above.
  • In further education, 62% of teaching staff in the North West’s colleges are qualified to first degree level equivalent or above.
  • In higher education, 90% of academic staff in higher education in the North West are qualified to first degree level equivalent or above.
  • In the archives workforce, the most common qualification held by archivists and records managers in the North West is a higher degree or equivalent.

Employment trends and future projections

  • Despite forecasts of falling workforce numbers in some occupational groups, overall demand in the lifelong learning sector in the North West is expected to increase by approximately 1%.
  • It is estimated that approximately 74,000 people will need to be recruited into the lifelong learning sector in the North West over the next ten years, to fill vacancies largely created by existing staff going into retirement.

Source: The lifelong learning workforce in the North West Factsheet 2009