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Colleges “help drive economic growth and tackle poverty and disadvantage”

A report launched as part of a review of Scotland’s colleges demonstrates that for every £1 invested in Scotland’s colleges, the economy benefits by at least £3.20.

The “Difference Colleges Make Working Group” presented the report, entitled “Unlocking Opportunity” yesterday at a conference coordinated by the Scottish Executive.

A number of case studies were put together over more than a year to investigate the effect that Scotland’s colleges have on the economy.

John Burt, Chair of the Working Group, which is part of the Scottish Executive’s Review of Scotland’s Colleges, said: “We have worked hard to produce a robust and evidence-based statistical report that demonstrates the high return Scotland’s colleges achieve with public money”.

“The report is supported by 29 college case studies, each of which illustrate the key role colleges play in their communities”.

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He added: “I am very pleased with the report’s results, both as Chair of the Working Group, and as Principal of Angus College. I think people generally consider colleges are doing good work, but it is easy to forget the economic impacts of that work ““ this report brings those impacts into focus”.

Deputy First Minister Nicol Stephen said at the conference: “Colleges are pivotal to lifelong learning. They help drive economic growth and tackle poverty and disadvantage”.

“We are currently investing £598 million on colleges in 2006/07, rising to £615 million in 2007/08,” he added. “This study shows that for every £1 invested in Scotland’s colleges our economy benefits by at least £3.20. This represents a big return on investment”.

“The report also shows that colleges have a strong role in improving health, reducing crime and strengthening communities. By understanding the difference that colleges currently make to our lives, we are in a much stronger position to plan for the future,” he continued.

Annabel Hardy.

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