Job prospects dictate Welsh students' choice of courses

January 14, 2000

More higher education students in Wales are choosing courses that relate directly to future employment, say new statistics.

Figures published by the Welsh funding councils in further and higher education for 1997-98 show that full-time students choose business and administration more than any other subject.

But men and women made different choices. Second favourite for men was engineering and technology, whereas more women opted for combined courses or subjects allied to medicine than for business and administration.

Students in Wales are also achieving more - the figures show a steady increase in the numbers of both full-time and part-time students gaining qualifications at all levels. Overall, achievements were up by 12 per cent on 1995-96.

Enrolments to higher education institutions have grown steadily each year since 1992-93 but growth slowed in 1997-98, with 102,407 students in Wales, 32 per cent of them part-time. There were a further 51,337 enrolments on non-credit-bearing courses in higher education.

More than half of Welsh higher education students - 57 per cent - were studying at institutions in Wales, although Welsh colleges have some work to do if they want to match the figure of home-grown students in England, which is 94 per cent.

Women outnumbered men slightly, with the proportion of men falling from 49 per cent in 1995-96 to 48 per cent in 1997-98. But there were more men studying for postgraduate qualifications.

Men continue to dominate academic staff, filling more than two-thirds of posts. But there was a small shift towards more women in senior posts: 7 per cent of professors and 14 per cent of senior lecturers and researchers were women, compared with 7 per cent and 11 per cent respectively in 1995-96.

Income increased by 7 per cent to Pounds 556 million between 1995-96 and 1997-98. Academic staff costs fell slightly to Pounds 171.4 million, partly a reflection of a fall in full-time staff and a rise in the number of part-time posts.

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