Telford College has contributed more than £226 million to the region’s economy during the past year, it has been revealed.
The college generated a return of more than £25 for every £1 of Government funding received for its A level, apprenticeship and higher education courses.
Vocational and technical courses, meanwhile, made up over £115 million of the college’s contribution to the local economy.
The figures are contained in a new ‘Strategic Impact Assessment’ covering the 2020-21 academic year, which examines the impact of learning on the economy.
It shows that Telford College is exceeding the business community’s expectations in areas such as employer satisfaction, and in its contribution towards helping to plug skills gaps in the local economy.
Closer links with local secondary schools are also helping to boost student recruitment numbers and improve the college’s standing in the community, the report says.
The report is based on a nationally-recognised formula which calculates the contribution students will make to the local economy with their newly-acquired skills and qualifications.
The performance was achieved against a backdrop of the Covid pandemic, with restrictions presenting challenges with student participation levels in some areas.
Graham Guest, Telford College’s principal and chief executive, said: “It’s incredibly pleasing and reassuring to see that we are providing such a dramatic return on investment as we continue to focus on addressing skills shortages.
“Our aim is to become a broad base for the delivery of further and higher education across the region, meet the needs of employers and make a major contribution to the economic success of Telford and Wrekin area.
“We have worked very hard to ensure that our curriculum is more inclusive, and fully reflects local and regional skills needs.
“Our highly experienced teachers are backed up by a very good network of impartial information, advice and guidance to maximise their career choices.”
Mr Guest said the college was also reaping the rewards of closer working partnerships with many secondary schools in Telford & Wrekin, delivering masterclasses, careers talks, new learner days and open events.
“Our recruitment numbers grew again in 2020-21, showing improved levels of confidence in Telford College, and its role and relevance in the community.
“We are constantly focusing on delivering the skills needed by the local economy, aided by the creation of specialist employer hubs in areas such as health, engineering and aviation.”
Achievement rates for A level students were above the national average, and two thirds of vocational students progressed into either education, or apprenticeships.
Mr Guest said: “In priority areas such as business and professional, engineering, food and drink and manufacturing as priority areas, our impact of our vocational programmes in these sectors adds up to more than £30 million.
“In aspirational career sectors such as the creative arts, digital media and IT, these courses added a further £26 million.”
The report says achievement rates for adult learners at Telford College are ‘outstanding’ and performing either on or above the national average, while the college’s apprenticeship curriculum has been strengthened and improved.
Mr Guest said: “Our employer hubs are allowing us to work more collaboratively with employers, through interactive collaboration groups that include key representatives from local employers.
“We are building sector-specific curriculum programmes that support both the technical and soft skills that employers need to fill their existing and future skills gaps.”