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The Further Education Sector in NI consists of 6 regional FE colleges operating across 40 campuses.  The sector employs over 4,000 FTE staff (inc lecturers and support staff), has a turnover of circa £260m and works with well over 10,000 businesses across NI. 

The 2014/15 statistics show that:
  • Supporting 90,000 learners annually
  • Around 1/3 of learners are studying more than 1 course (equates to approx. 180,825 enrolments)
  • Of all our  enrolments (2014/15):
- 87% regulated and 13% non regulated  
- 43% of enrolments are from individuals in the most deprived areas (top 40% deprived wards)      
-  79% Part Time and 21% Full Time
-  Over two thirds of enrolments are FLU funded
-  In particular, 69% FLU, 13% Government Training, 11% cost recovery, 6% entitlement framework funded.
  • In terms of final year enrolments in 2013/14 we have 141,778 enrolments of which:
Percentage by course level
22%  Level 1 and below
46% Level 2
8%  Level 4 and above
100% Total

  • Another way of looking at this – is that broadly our learners are in three groups
Percentage By Course Level
20% Essential Skills
72%  FE
8%  HE*
100% Total

*Over the last five years – there has been a 6.5% increase in HE enrolments in the FE sector Outcomes
  • Have a retention rate of 89% and an achievement rate of 89% (79% success rate)
  • Account for 18% of all Higher Education students in NI
  • Result in 70% of learners going into employment on completing their FE course
  • Offer provision to meet the priority skills sectors for NI
  • Success Rates in the FE sector have increased from 70% in 2010/11 to 79% in 2014/15
  • This is impressive if we consider that 43% of learners in FE are from the most deprived areas in NI 
  • Furthermore if we consider the most deprived learners (Group 1 most deprived quintile) – the retention, achievement and success rates are exceptionally high at – 86%, 86% and 74%

NI 'punches above it's weight on the world stage'

Northern Ireland accounts for less than 3% of the UK population, yet accounted for over 17% of Team UK as part of Worldskills 2015.  Team UK had 41 members, 7 of whom were from NI.   Furthermore, the NI members of the team were responsible for achieving over two fifths of the Team UK medal haul.  Team UK won 9 medals – and 4 of these (1 Gold, 2 Silver, 1 Bronze) were won by NI competitors.  The local success helped Team UK achieve 7th place in the Worldskills medal rankings.  NI continues to ‘punch above it’s weight’ in such competitions.

Statistical documents

  • For a detailed 5 year synopsis of FE provision - visit 5 Year Synposis
  • For enrolment stats on annual basis visit: Enrolments
  • For more general statistics across traineeships, apprenticeships etc visit General Statistics

Sectoral brochure

  • See a link to our sectoral brochure with statistics for the sector: FE Brochure (2104).  A screenshot of this is below. 
  • For the 2015 updated version - please email: FE Brochure 2015 (as format is too large to upload on our website)