By Claire West

Employers highly value graduates who gained their qualification while studying and working part time, research published by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Higher Education Careers Services Unit (HECSU) reveals.

Around a third of employers said that their views of part time study have improved based on the experience of their employees.

The Futuretrack: Part-time Students from an Employer Perspective research showed that 40 per cent of part time students reported that their employers paid all of their course fees and 8 per cent received partial fee support.

Moreover, the Government will give extra support to part-time students in higher education by bringing in changes to student finance arrangements from 2012/13. These will ensure that eligible part time students studying over 25 per cent intensity will be able to apply for a student loan to cover the cost of tuition.

David Willetts Minister for Universities said:

“This research shows that employers particularly value graduates who already have experience of the workplace and can apply practically what they have learned. Studying part time is a good option for many students enabling learning to be fitted around work and other commitments.

“Making part time study more accessible is one of the key goals of the Government’s higher education reforms. Part time students will be able to get help to cover tuition costs and will only make graduate contributions once they are in well paid work.”

Jane Artess, Director of Research at HECSU said:

“Our study has found evidence that part-time higher education leads to more demanding tasks and responsibilities and to higher paid jobs for those concerned. So many employers support staff in studying part-time because of its clear benefits, believing that their organisations benefit from staff becoming more knowledgeable and better equipped with job related skills. Some employers also note positive contributions to productivity and efficiency, increased staff retention and improved staff attitudes and career progression.”