Causeway Chronicle

Further Education Sector Activity Bulletin published 

at Holyhead

This statistical bulletin presents a range of analysis regarding enrolments and students (both regulated and non-regulated) in the Northern Ireland further education (FE) Sector, covering academic years 2018/19 to 2022/23. This analysis covers the characteristics of those enrolling in FE colleges across a range of variables, including: sex; age; mode of attendance; level of study; subject area; deprivation; funding stream; higher education; and performance (retention, achievement and success rates).

Key points include:

All enrolments

  • Following a 34% decline between 2018/19 (148,000) and the pandemic-impacted 2020/21 (97,530), the number of enrolments has increased by 20% over the two most recent years, to 117,305 in 2022/23.
  • The regulated share of enrolments increased from 80% in 2018/19 to 84% in 2022/23.
  • Over half of 2022/23 enrolments were mainstream funded by the Department for the Economy.

Regulated enrolments

  • Of the 98,200 regulated enrolments in 2022/23, 82% were at Level 2 or above, up from 79% in 2018/19 (equivalent to GCSE A*-C) or above.
  • The student population on regulated enrolments is becoming older, with the aged 20 and over share increasing from 39% in 2018/19 to 42% in 2022/23.
  • Higher education enrolments fell by a net 6%, from 10,705 in 2018/19 to 10,020 in 2022/23.
  • FE sector regulated enrolments are fairly evenly spread across relative multiple deprivation quintiles, although considerable variation occurs at college level.

Qualifications and Performance

  • Over a fifth fewer qualifications were awarded in 2022/23 (58,965) than in 2018/19  2018/19 (74,580).

Students enrolled and Qualifications achieved

  • Following a 27% decline between 2018/19 (76,670) and 2020/21 (55,970), the number of students has increased by 14% over the two most recent years, to 64,025 in 2022/23.
  • The number of students achieving regulated qualifications decreased by a net 17%, from 44,105 in 2018/19 to 36,710 in 2022/23.

The full bulletin is available at: 

Causeway Chronicle

Causeway Chronicle