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The Valuing Enrichment Project

Graphic grey text which reads 'We support enrichment in colleges' and the AoC logo

A long-term piece of longitudinal research into enrichment spanning four years (2020-2024) has been undertaken in a pioneering collaboration between AoC and the University of Derby, funded by NCFE. The research has demonstrated the huge role enrichment activities play in preparing students for employment and careers.

The aim of the in-depth research has been to get sector wide agreement on what we mean by “enrichment” and to fill the evidence gap around enrichment in post-16 education. This project has reported on the current state of enrichment activities delivered across the sector, sharing best practice, demonstrating their impact to government departments, and articulating the case for why such activities should be more strongly supported as a means to create more work-ready, resilient and active citizens. The approach to this piece of research has been unique and provided evidence focused and influential data. The approach has been fluid and allowed us to evidence changes in practice and impact through repeated surveys of different types of post-16 organisations, as well as qualitative interviews with staff and students within those organisations.

Two reports have been produced, the interim report published in June 2023, and a further final project report was published in Spring 2024.

Valuing Enrichment: Final Report

Read the full report here

Interim Report: Emerging findings and recommendations

Read the full report here

Valuing Enrichment Webinar

Enrichment activities have a unique role in empowering young people with the skills, confidence, self-esteem and awareness they need to be lifelong learners and engaged citizens. Yet colleges’ ability to offer enrichment has been eroded by more than a decade of funding cuts. Together with the University of Derby, and funded by NCFE, the Valuing Enrichment Report has demonstrated, through research, the huge role enrichment activities play in preparing students for employment and careers.

Join us for an insightful roundtable discussion on the value of enrichment, aligned with the vision of fostering lifelong learning where every individual can thrive.

Speakers joining us for the roundtable include:

Eddie Playfair, Senior Policy Manager - Association of Colleges
Janine Oliver, Director of Solutions - NCFE
Bill Esmond, Researcher, University of Derby - UoD
Shcara Strudley Smith, Project Manager - Association of Colleges
Andrea Laczik, Director of Research - Edge Foundation
Lisa Humphries, Chair of NAMSS - NAMSS
Polly Harrow, FE Student Champion - Kirklees College
Michelle Dowse, Principal - Heart of Worcester College

Click here to sign up

Contact us:

Contact us AoC by emailing

If you want to find out more about the project, please contact the University of Derby at

See our main resource of case studies by clicking the button below:

The role of enrichment in further education

Please find the link to articles, blogs and resources which have been created as part of the research: