The determinants and labour market effects of lifelong learning
Despite the policy importance of lifelong learning, there is very little hard evidence from the UK on (a) who undertakes lifelong learning and why, and (b) the economic benefits of lifelong learning. This paper uses a rich longitudinal panel data set to look at key factors that determine whether someone undertakes lifelong learning and then models the effect of the different qualifications acquired via lifelong learning on individuals’ economic outcomes, namely wages and the likelihood of being employed. Those who left school with O-level qualifications or above were much more likely to undertake lifelong learning. Undertaking one episode of lifelong learning also increased the probability of undertaking more lifelong learning. We found little evidence of positive wage effects from lifelong learning. However, males who left school with only low-level qualifications do earn substantially more if they undertake a degree via lifelong learning. We also found important positive employment effects from lifelong learning.