Economic impact of cuts to the Higher Education sector

Education and training are key factors in economic progress, acting as a means of raising productivity. Whilst other factors can result in short-run economic improvements, education and training are critical to embedding long-term growth. As such, the current reductions in funding for Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) could potentially have a negative impact on future economic development in Northern Ireland (NI).

A student reading in a library (Image: Tulane University, under Creative Commons)
A student reading in a library (Image: Tulane University, under Creative Commons)

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Recent changes in the Northern Ireland labour market

Northern Ireland (NI) was impacted heavily by the global recession that began in 2008. The recovery since has been slow in the United Kingdom (UK) and even slower in NI. With heavy job losses in industries such as construction, the shape of NI’s labour market has changed, with the services sector now of increased importance. In addition, the balance between the private and public sectors is beginning to shift due to the ongoing Voluntary Exit Schemes (VES) operating across the public sector.

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