LSBU banner

New report by LSBU Vice-Chancellor reveals the value of employer sponsored degrees

A new report authored by LSBU's Vice-Chancellor David Phoenix and published by HEPI outlines the benefits and opportunities of employer sponsored study
20 April 2016

Prof. David Phoenix, London South Bank University (LSBU) Vice-Chancellor, has authored a new report published by the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI), highlighting the significant value of employer-sponsored degrees.

The report, entitled Making a Success of Employer Sponsored Education, includes new analysis from London Economics showing employer sponsored degrees to be nearly six times cheaper for taxpayers than regular degrees. 

Employer sponsored degrees are also shown to confer other benefits beyond savings to the public purse, such as increased productivity for businesses and higher wages for individuals. The report includes a number of policy recommendations, making the case for further provision of employer sponsored study in the developing higher education policy landscape.

Employer sponsored study’s provision for people to earn while they learn is popular; one-in-ten students at UK universities is currently studying towards a degree sponsored by their employer. Such students undertake university degree courses part-time, working for their employer the rest of the week, receiving additional on-the-job training, further education and vocational development. These students may also be able to complete their studies without the debt associated with a typical three-year undergraduate degree.

In spite of the popularity and benefits, employer sponsored degrees are at risk of being undermined by the Government’s imposition of an Apprenticeship Levy. Nick Hillman, Director of the Higher Education Policy Institute, comments:

“There has been general agreement for decades that employers should do more to train up their own staff. Policy makers are now responding by imposing an Apprenticeship Levy. But, unless we are careful, this could drive out tried-and-tested forms of higher education that are already backed by employers, such as employer sponsored degrees. We must not throw the baby out with the bathwater.”

Prof. David Phoenix, author of the report, adds: “LSBU has been providing high-quality employer-sponsored education for over 100 years. Today, we have nearly 7,000 sponsored students and 1,000 employer partners. The Government’s new Degree Apprenticeships are a welcome addition to professional and technical education. I enthusiastically support them. But Ministers must ensure they complement rather than disrupt existing employer sponsored degrees. This report shines a light on the huge value of employer sponsored degrees and shows how a good policy could become a great one.”

Find out more about employer sponsored study at LSBU.