Higher Skills Learners – Enrolments (Updated In-Year)

The chart shows our enrolments onto higher level programmes. As can be seen, the number of adults studying these programmes has increased compared to the previous year. This is the result of our planned expansion of higher level study opportunities linked to local priority sectors, Some of which are now available through our new Institute of Technology. We will continue to expand this higher offer in collaboration with University partners over the coming academic year and beyond.

Higher Skills Learners – Enrolments (2021-22 Year-End Data)

Engagement and participation rates

Learner engagement trend analysis

Line graph showing learner engagement trend analysis

The college considers higher skills learners as:

  1. HNC/D students – those studying dedicated HE programmes on a full or part time basis.

  2. Classroom based Level 4+ students – adults studying FE provision that is Level 4 or higher – including professional programmes such as Teacher Training.

  3. Higher Apprenticeships- those studying a Level 4 and above through an Apprenticeship programme.

In 2021/22 we had 364 students undertaking higher level learning through classroom based and HNC/D programmes. The numbers on traditional stand-alone HNC/D programmes have continued to decline from a high point in 2017. Classroom based L4 programmes have declined slightly after a significant increase in 2020-21, but this should be viewed in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The impact of this was offset by the continuing use of West Midlands Combined Authority flexibilities for HE programmes and the opening of the Black Country and Marches Institute of Technology.

The pandemic also had an impact on Higher Apprenticeship recruitment, which fell from 305 in 2020-21 to 245 in 2021-22, although this still remains strong despite difficult external circumstances. These students continue to be a strategic priority for the College, and we have plans to further expand our HE apprenticeship offer, particularly through the ongoing work of the Institute of Technology.

Travel to Learn Map

Heatmap showing travel to learn pattern for Higher Education learners

The map shows the travel to learn pattern of our Higher Education students in 2021-22. The majority of students continue to be from Dudley Borough and the wider Black Country area. Increasingly students are looking to remain local to study rather than travel elsewhere and it is expected the pandemic may make that an increasingly attractive option. However, it also shows that the College is attracting higher level students from across the wider West Midlands, and we expect that to broaden as the Black Country and Marches Institute of Technology continues to establish itself and as we participate in the Aspire to HE project. We are pleased to see that, as we strengthen our higher-level offer and build our reputation for quality delivery of learning and skills, we are able to draw students from farther afield, with the Institute of Technology giving us a national reach in some sectors.

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