This case study can be downloaded as a PDF here.
Shortly after the Government’s recent announcement that it would be allocating £6 billion for local projects as part of its Growth Deals, the senior management team at East Durham College received the good news that its bid for £10 million in funds from The North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) had been successful.
The money will be spent on the redevelopment of the College’s Houghall Campus, which specialises in land-based studies. Earlier in the year the College received unanimous approval from Durham County Council to redevelop the site, and since then they have had a nervous wait to see if their funding bid had been successful. But now that the waiting is over and the funds have been confirmed, the senior management team can breathe a collective sigh of relief and look forward to the prospect of the planned redevelopment becoming a reality.
According to the Principal, Suzanne Duncan, “The redevelopment will enable the College to vastly improve its facilities which will allow us to offer more places as well as to broaden and expand the curriculum offer … We will be moving ahead quickly to progress our plans to provide significantly improve learning and teaching facilities at Houghall and providing a learning environment fit for the 21st century and beyond.”
The economic impact of East Durham College
One of the ways in which the College supported their planning application and bid for funds was by using the results of an Economic Impact Study researched and produced for them by EMSI earlier in the year. The link between measuring the economic impact of the College and its bid to redevelop a campus might not be immediately obvious. However, the connection begins to become a little clearer when we look at some of the conclusions that our Study came to:
- Every £1 learners pay for their education at the College yields £6.30 in higher future wages.
- Society receives £5.60 in benefits in return for every £1 invested in the College.
- Taxpayers see an average annual return of 11.4% on their investment in the College.
With figures such as these…
Well, as the senior management team realised, these results do not mean just having a nice set of figures to keep on file and to use to give themselves a collective pat on the back. Rather, they provide solid evidence for the amazing contribution the College makes to the local and regional economy, and by implication, a compelling argument for future investment.
This concrete and credible evidence of the impact the College has on the local and regional economy greatly helped the senior management team build a persuasive case of the need to redevelop the Houghall Campus. As Suzanne says, “The fact that we were able to quantify our value meant that we could show both the County Council and the LEP just how valuable the College is to the community. And of course this then allowed us to present the case of how much more value we could bring to the local economy with a redeveloped campus.”
Building an even more compelling case
In addition to the Economic Impact Study, the College also commissioned EMSI to do some consulting work, comparing their course provision with the skills demands of the local labour market. The resulting study, Labour Market Research & Course Alignment Analysis, included a section on the land-based studies at the Houghall Campus. One of the conclusions reached was that local skills demands in industries such as agriculture/equine; arboriculture and forestry; and environmental conservation was high, and that there was significant scope for the college to increase its course provision in these areas.
Alongside the Economic Impact Study, these findings provided a compelling case for the need to redevelop the Houghall Campus, in order to ensure that the College meets the skills needs of the local and regional economy both now and in the future. As with the Impact Study, the senior management team did not hesitate to use the findings to bolster their planning application and funding bid.
Suzanne has no doubt that the College’s partnership with EMSI was an integral part of their success in receiving planning permission and £10 million of investment: “The Economic Impact Study and consultancy work helped us present a compelling case for redeveloping the Houghall Campus, and I have no doubt that they played an important part in the favourable outcomes we received.”
For more details of our Economic Impact Studies and consultancy work, contact Andy Durman on firstname.lastname@example.org