From education to employment

Potential Earnings Rise for GCSE Students of £4,000″¦If They Stay in Education

A new set of figures has been released by the National Office for Statistics, which will be music to the ears of thousands of nervous students tearing open their GCSE results this Thursday.

The figures indicate that these same students could witness a rise in their earnings of up to £4,000 a year. The proviso, however, is that they will need to stay in education and training to get this rise. The number of students able to afford to continue learning, and thus reap these benefits in the medium term, is expected to rise with the expansion of the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) which effectively pays them to remain in education and / or training.

Breaking Down the Figures

The young person who leaves without good grades at GCSE can expect to see his earnings suffer, by as much as 24 percent. This means that across the average working life, the young person who gains further educational qualifications, such as “A” Levels, can expect to earn approximately £185,000 more than those who do not. To be precise, the figures indicate that the salary expectations for a young person without good GCSE grades and further qualifications rest at about £16,700, whereas the anticipated salary of a young person with FE qualifications is on average almost £20,700 per annum.

Retaking exams has also been shown to be well worth the extra work. Those resitting key GCSEs, such as English and Maths, and gaining good grades, can look forward to a nine percent jump in their expected annual average salary, a rise o some £1,400 each year. Thus, young people are being encouraged not to allow the short term cost of education to make their decision for them, with the EMA available for those revisiting their exams as well.


The EMA is designed to enable young people to continue in education and training after GCSE level. The allowance is of course means assessed, with all 16 year olds in England from a household with an annual income of £30,000 or less who stay on at college or school being eligible for the EMA. The application process does not depend on the young person having already been accepted to an FE College or Sixth Form.

The scheme is an attempt at a flexible approach to easing the financial burden of further study, with payments of £10, £20 or £30 each week in return for the young person’s demonstrated commitment to the course of study being supported. In addition to this weekly stipend, there are additional awards of anything up to £500 for meeting progress targets.

Steve Palmer, the executive director of the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) in Lancashire, welcomed the statistical evidence supporting his firmly held faith in the importance of Further Education and the need to support more young people thus widening participation and increasing the income and therefore wealth of the future workforce.

“The statistics prove the financial benefits of further education to all young people,” he commented, continuing: “By staying on to do an academic, vocational or retake course, young people will be setting themselves up for a better future. We are urging all young people to call the EMA help line to find out it they are eligible for extra cash while they study.”

Find out if you can benefit from the EMA by calling 080 810 16219, or by clicking here.

Jethro Marsh

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