Further education colleges across South Yorkshire are pumping £1.8 billion a year into the region’s economy - and providing over 76,000 jobs.
The Star reported last week how Sheffield College alone was worth £321 million to the city every year.
Now an independent study says the county’s colleges overall contribute more than five times that amount in value to South Yorkshire.
Economic Modelling Specialists International say the results from colleges including not only Sheffield, but also Longley Park sixth form and Thomas Rotherham, are ‘overwhelmingly positive’.
They were found to produce well-educated students who were better prepared to become high-income earners.
As a result a college education was rated as a sound investment, with students gaining far more in higher wages than any fees they were paying.
Colin Booth, chair of the Principals’ Group for Sheffield City Region Colleges, said: “Broadening experience, developing skills, and putting people on the path to success are our widely accepted goals.
“However our remit consists of much more than solely influencing the lives of learners. We also have a responsibility to contribute to the regional economy, not least in creating more and better jobs for around 1.8 million residents.
“Until now, there has been little research to quantify any monetary value of our work to the region. We now know that it is hugely significant.
“We have confirmed what we always felt - investing in education is a win-win situation for the region. An investment in our colleges is an investment in our collective future.”
Analyst Nigel Brewster said: “Education is integral to the economic transformation of the region.”