Sheffield College contributing millions to city economy

The Sheffield College's city campus
The Sheffield College's city campus

The economic contribution that Sheffield College makes to the city is worth £321 million every year – according to a new report.

Analysts came upon the total by examining college and staff expenditure, the impact of students’ skills, and the contribution of former students employed in the workforce – with the latter alone totalling £284.3 million.

The report was commissioned by the college, which offers academic and vocational courses to 20,000 people.

Principal Heather MacDonald said: “We know that we have a major impact on learners and businesses in the city.

“This report illustrates the financial value of what we provide and how we impact on students, communities and businesses.

“Many of our students originate from and stay on in Sheffield.

“Their enhanced skills and abilities bolster the output of local employers, leading to higher regional income and a more robust economy.”

Other factors calculated by Economic Modelling Specialists International included increased earnings, improved skills, enhanced business productivity, and social savings made through reduced demands for welfare thanks to students taking part in courses.

From September the college will be undergoing a £15.6 million upgrade and it is also planning to increase apprenticeships to meet regional skills needs of employers in the region.

Richard Wright, executive director of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, added: “The responsibility of the private sector is to create wealth, and that requires good people.

“To achieve that, business and education have to be joined at the hip.

“It’s really good to see the college analysing what its real contribution to the economy is and looking at ways to increase that.

“It is now standard for the college to talk to business as it specifies course content and capacity, and advises around new investment.

“The best economy needs the best people.

“New employees don’t just need to replace old ones – they have to add to the business. That’s where training and skills development comes in.”

The statistics in the report were based on data from 2011 to 2012. The college is encouraging more employers to take on apprentices.