The number of learners taking engineering, manufacturing and building services qualifications with specialist industry awarding organisation EAL has leapt by almost a quarter over the past year.

EAL has recorded a 24 per cent increase in registrations across its qualifications for 2011/12 – increasing from over 128,024 in 2010/11 to 158,122 in the latest financial year. Engineering and manufacturing technologies showed the biggest surge, with 35 per cent more learners registering – going from 66,298 to 89,589. And building services also gained a significant 10 per cent – with 7,558 learners rising to 8,315.

The rapid growth has boosted sales to £8.7million over the last 12 months – an 11 per cent rise on the previous financial year. This has resulted in a surplus of more than £2.3million being returned to parent company Enginuity , the Sector Skills Council for the advanced manufacturing and engineering sectors. This threefold improvement on last year’s surplus will be reinvested to benefit new industry standards and qualifications.

EAL’s success has been attributed to their commitment to industry partnerships with other awarding organisations, Sector Skills Councils, employers and learning providers alongside innovations within the company’s customer facing systems; and the development of Government policy on vocational learning, including Apprenticeships.

Alastair Imrie, EAL Chairman, said: “This growth is testament to the continuing partnerships that allow EAL to offer the most comprehensive range of specialist, industry-relevant qualifications for the sectors we serve.

“The climate we operate in continues to present fresh challenges to everyone involved in work based learning, as unemployment figures add to the pressure to stimulate economic growth. There has also been a great deal of discussion and scrutiny of Government’s vision for vocational learning – and we have gone to great lengths to ensure the views of industry are represented.

“Looking to 2012/13, we will continue to channel our surplus into supporting vital skills for industry, strengthening a commitment which, in the last 10 years, has seen over £10million reinvested through our Industry Support Programme.  This ongoing investment will ensure individuals and companies across the sectors we serve can continue to access specialist qualifications that are vital to their future success.”

Dr Dolores Byrne OBE, Interim Chief Executive at Enginuity , added: “The hard work from the EAL team in increasing learner volumes has been fundamental to the outstanding financial results from the company in the last year.

“As part of the Enginuity Group, we’re offering the best service in the market for supporting companies to take on apprentices, and EAL’s own customer service has been acknowledged as being ‘World Class’*. I would like to offer my congratulations to the EAL team and wish them success in their challenging targets for the future.”

*The finding came from an independent survey, completed in 2012, by the Institute of Customer Service.

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