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South West

  • There are over 4,000 employers in the lifelong learning sector in the South West, including:

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

- 13 higher education institutions, plus the Open University

- approximately 3,800 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 50 libraries and archives services

- approximately 140 Learning and Skills Council funded work-based learning providers, plus other privately funded and voluntary organisations

  • 84% of lifelong learning employers in the region employ less than 10 staff, which is in line with the lifelong learning sector throughout the rest of the UK.
  • The lifelong learning sector in the South West accounts for a total output (at basic prices) of approximately £1.1 billion.

Workforce statistics:

  • Approximately 78,000 people work in the lifelong learning sector in the South West. This is around 9% of the lifelong learning workforce in England.
  • 46% of the workforce is aged between 45-64 years. This is most evident within the libraries workforce where 75% of staff are aged 45 years and over.
  • 60% of the workforce is female.
  • 61% of the workforce is employed full-time.
  • 45% of the workforce is employed in professional roles such as teachers, lecturers, librarians and youth workers. 17% are in associate professional roles such as youth support workers, learning support staff, technical specialists and library assistants.

Qualification profile of the workforce:

  • 66% of the workforce is qualified to the equivalent of NVQ level 4 or above.
  • In further education, 57% of teaching staff in South West colleges are qualified to first degree level equivalent or above.
  • In higher education, 88% of academic staff in higher education in the South 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 South West is a higher degree or equivalent.

Employment trends and future projections

  • Despite forecasts of falling workforce numbers for some occupational groups, overall demand in the lifelong learning sector in the South West is expected to increase by approximately 6%.
  • It is estimated that around 61,000 people will need to be recruited into the lifelong learning sector in the South West over the next ten years, to fill vacancies largely crested by existing staff going into retirement.

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