UCU says UK must invest in next generation or risk losing out in the race for economic growth


A new study today reveals that putting an individual through A-levels and university generates a £227,000 net gain for the economy .

The report shows that for an investment of £5,000 the net return to the exchequer from someone who gains A-Levels is £47,000, with a degree worth an additional £180,000 from a £19,000 state investment.

The report – Further Higher? Tertiary education and growth in the UK’s new economy, commissioned by the UCU and carried out by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) – also warns that unless the UK produces more highly-skilled workers it risks haemorrhaging jobs abroad and losing the chance to build a competitive advantage in new low carbon industries.

The full report will be launched at UCU’s annual congress in Manchester this afternoon by the union’s general secretary, Sally Hunt. She will tell the 550 delegates that:

“With 80% of new jobs by 2020 likely to be professional or technical, the UK must invest now in the next generation or risk losing out in the race for economic growth. This research highlights the folly of reducing public investment in our colleges and universities.

“Instead of cutting places and making it more expensive to study, ministers need a strategy which harnesses further and higher education to provide a window of opportunity for the next generation.”

Nissan vice-president for Europe, Jerry Hardcastle, warns in the report of the importance of investing in UK graduates. He says: “In India they are churning out hundreds of thousands of graduates and we are churning out a small number and that will restrict our ability to expand. If they’re not available here, the jobs will move to India, Brazil and China.”

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