Making the grade: how government investment in further education can benefit single parents and the state

Published on 1 July 2014


The majority of single parents are in work; almost all of those not in work want to work, study or train. However, many don’t have the formal qualifications needed to help them compete in a crowded jobs market. This means that, when they do find work, over two-thirds enter the three lowest paid industries.

This report explains the skills profile of single parents, and models the gains for single parents and the state if the government provided full-funded training opportunities for those out of work or working part-time to achieve their first level 3 qualification (equivalent to an A-level). The report calls for more funding to invest in single parent training, moving jobcentre support away from getting single parents into ‘any job’, and towards sustainable job outcomes.

Key findings

This analysis shows that single parents with a level 3 qualification:

  • Have longer periods of sustained employment
  • Spend less time on out-of-work benefits
  • Secure better wages
  • Are more likely to work longer hours
  • Could help the government make gains of up to £670 million over seven years.