Merseyside Colleges Association (MCA) is a group of six further education colleges and three sixth-form colleges, formed in 1993 to work together as one cohesive unit to educate learners in the region.
One of the group’s main priorities is to increase their contribution to economic growth, and an important way they have sought to achieve this is through closer engagement and alignment with the Liverpool City Region LEP, which was formed in 2012, including structuring themselves around the LEP’s priority sectors. Collaboration with the LEP has also seen a number of successful projects, such as the College Capital Improvement Fund transforming facilities in key LEP areas, and securing ESF funding.
How Much do Merseyside Colleges Contribute to the Regional Economy?
Over the course of 2016, MCA has been working with Emsi on a number of projects that demonstrate their value and importance to the regional economy, and which have the added bonus of helping foster better engagement with the LEP.
One of these projects, an Economic Impact Study, found that MCA colleges contribute approximately £2.4 billion in additional income per year to the regional business community – equivalent to around 6.0% of the total Merseyside economy. In addition to this headline figure, the study also looked at the impact the colleges are having on the seven LEP priority sectors. The results were undoubtedly impressive, for instance it was found that MCA colleges:
- Impact Advanced Manufacturing to the tune of £66.3 million – equivalent to 2,773 jobs
- Impact Creative & Digital to the tune of £25.5 million – equivalent to 1,067 jobs
- Impact Visitor Economy to the tune of £50.1 million – equivalent to 2,097 jobs
According to the Principal at St Helens College and MCA’s Chair, Jette Burford:
“The study results show that our colleges are having a massive effect on the priorities identified by Liverpool City Region LEP, and on the regional economy as a whole. This is not only of great value in our ongoing work with the LEP, but also gives us a great benchmark for future performance.”
How Well do Merseyside Colleges Measure up to LEP Priorities?
Understanding the value they have as economic drivers is only half of the story, however, and in addition to the Impact Study MCA also worked with Emsi to produce a LEP Priority Review. The purpose of this report was to demonstrate how the provision of the colleges is serving the priorities set by Liverpool City Region LEP. The end result shows how well their graduates align with the LEP priorities, and also helps to ensure that future planning by both the LEP and the colleges will be more aligned around a common knowledge base.
Specifically, the Review contained:
- A scan of the region’s economy, including forecasted changes in occupations and industries
- A mapping of MCA’s provision against demand in each of the seven LEP priority sectors
- A gap analysis to evaluate occupations that MCA should consider providing training for
The value of the research can be seen in a number of ways. According to Jette:
“Whilst the Economic Impact Study showed us how much we are contributing to the LEP Priority Sectors, the great value of the LEP Priority Review has been to help us see where our strengths lie, and to identify weaknesses that need addressing. The report has given us a much clearer idea of how we can build on the existing foundation, and how we can work with the LEP to build a more prosperous regional economy in the future.”
The Economic Impact Study and the LEP Priority Review show not only that MCA colleges are teaching the skills that are crucial for growth, but also that they are vital drivers of the Merseyside economy, both now and on into the future.
To find out more about how we can help your institution measure impact and alignment with LEP priority sectors, contact firstname.lastname@example.org