An Important Sector of the City's Economy
Education accounts for 10% of jobs in the city, a higher percentage than in the South East and in Britain as a whole. Apart from the school sector (70 plus schools), there are two universities, which together employ about 5,000 people, plus an expanding FE college, the renamed City College. There is also a thriving TEFL sector. Lastly, there is the prestigious independent school, Brighton College.
The education sector not only provides jobs, it also provides consumers; university students and foreign language students who spend their grants and foreign curreny in the local economy. There are around 23,000 undergraduates in the city. Undergraduates on average spend about £200 a week on rent, food and other essentials (2006 figure). (And in turn 55% of undergraduates have part-time jobs.)
Teaching English to foreign students (TEFL, EFL, EAP, etc.) first got off the ground in the late 1960s - early 1970s as a seasonal summer time business, but has since gone on to become an established part of the local economy. Indeed, today the whole of the education system, apart from primary and secondary schools, are being enjoined, nay commanded, to seek out foreign students.
Gordon Brown, chancellor of the exchequer, on his visit to Beijing in 2005 made a pitch to balance our trade with China through selling English education to the Chinese as we bought just about everything else from them (see Guardian report).
Locally, just a few months after the chancellor's visit, City College did its bit by starting a 3 week summer school for 30 students from Beijing - and having the whole lot filmed and broadcast as a fly-on-the-wall documentary by China's national television station.
TEFL is here to stay and to grow. Part of the redevelopment of the Brighon station site (the New England Quarter) includes a European headquarters facility for Study Group International (Bellerbys College in the UK), the world's leading provider of integrated educational programmes for international students. Together with administrative space, the headquarters include facilities for 1,000 students and 80 teaching staff, accommodation for 400 students and a catering centre.