A record 234,000 started apprenticeships in the 2008/09 academic year, according to the Office for National Statistics.
Official data also reveals 126,900 people completed apprenticeships during the same period – the highest number of completions ever in an academic year.
"It’s great news that the number of people starting and completing an apprenticeship is at the highest ever, and that over a million people have taken a course to improve their literacy and numeracy skills this year. Behind these figures are real people with brighter futures, greater self-confidence and better career prospects ahead," says Skills Minister Kevin Brennan.
Overall, provisional figures suggest that in the 2008/09 academic year there were 4,754,700 learners taking Further Education courses funded by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC). Other statistics covering the number of people aged 16 and over who aren't in school or university in England, and who have taken an LSC-funded course, include:
- 1,446,600 people took skills for life courses in literacy, numeracy or English;
- 1,268,500 people took courses leading to a full Level 2 qualification;
- 794,000 people took courses leading to a full Level 3 qualification;
However, Mr Brennan insists there is still a lot more work to be done to help people access FE.
"We need to keep on helping people access the training and skills they need to get work and to get on at work, and to be able to seize the opportunities that growth will bring. We are expanding apprenticeships, making it easier for employers to offer them, so that more young people can benefit," he says.
"We also need to make sure adults can reskill and upskill so that they are in the best possible position to get the jobs of the future. Our National Skills Strategy, to be published later this autumn, will take this work forward."
(Pictured: Jignesh Madhavji, apprentice finalist in the National Apprenticeship Awards 2009)
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