Page last updated at 12:19 GMT, Tuesday, 23 August 2005 13:19 UK

Post-16 pupils 'earn more money'

Students working in college
Students receive bonuses for sticking to learning contracts

Young people who stay on in education after their GCSEs could earn up to £4,000 more per year than those without good GCSE results, it is claimed.

The Learning and Skills Council says they can expect to earn an estimated £185,000 more over their careers.

It says the education maintenance allowance is encouraging students from low-income families to stay in school.

And it is encouraging pupils to apply for the scheme, which entitles them to payments of up to £30 per week.

The LSC says students who gain A-levels or other advanced qualifications can expect to earn an average yearly salary of £20,692.

But it says those who leave school without obtaining five GCSE passes at grades A*-C or the equivalent can expect an average salary of £16,739.


Head of Learner Support Trevor Fellowes said: "These statistics prove the financial benefits of further education to all young people.

"By staying on to do an academic, vocational or retake course, young people will be setting themselves up for a better future."

He said the EMA was stopping young people dropping out of education for financial reasons.

Eligible if born between 1 September 1987 and 31 August 1988, studying at least 12 hours a week
Means-tested weekly payments of £10, £20 or £30
Must sign a contract on attendance, coursework and progress
Commitment bonuses of £100 (up to £500 in total over two years)
Available for academic and vocational courses, including GCSE retakes
Can do paid work - means test is on parents' income (max. £30k)
Other household benefits not affected

The figures also suggest that a student who achieves five GCSEs with grades A*-C, including English and maths, can still expect to earn up to £1,400 more per year than a student who does not achieve these grades.

But students who did not obtain any qualifications at all could expect a salary of less than £16,000 per year, the LSC said.

The Prince's Trust, which works with under-achieving young people, said it estimated that approximately 5% of 16-year-olds would leave school this year with no qualifications, in line with recent years.

It said that the gap between the highest and lowest achievers would widen as exam results continued to improve.

Leslie Morphy, Director of Programmes and Policy at The Prince's Trust, said: "For thousands of young people leaving school with no qualifications and little chance of finding work, this week may be the beginning of a lifelong struggle to get their lives back on track."

Almost 300,000 teenagers in England have received payments of up to £30 under the EMA scheme, which was introduced last September.

Students whose household income is under £30,000 per year are entitled to regular payments of £10, £20 or £30 in return for a written agreement that they will attend classes regularly.

The government says it is pleased with the numbers of pupils applying for the allowance.

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