From education to employment

Apprenticeship starts plunge as a result of coronavirus crisis

New data released by @EducationGovUK today (30 Jul) showed another huge decline in apprenticeship starts as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

There were just 34,690 starts between 23 March and 30 June 2020, down by 38,110 or 52.3 % on the same period in 2019. 

Apprenticeship starts for young people aged 16-18 have been hit hardest. There were 7,740 fewer apprenticeship starts over this period in 2020 than the previous year, a decline of 73.2%.

The Government recently announced hiring incentives worth up to £2,000 for employers who take on apprentices aged under 25.

Emily Jones, head of research at Learning and Work Institute said;

“Government statistics released today confirm that the number of apprenticeship starts remain well below pre-pandemic levels. The provisional data from May 2020 shows a 60% drop compared to last May and that young people have been hit the hardest. This is particularly concerning given the risk of youth unemployment due to coronavirus.

“While we welcome the government’s investment in hiring incentives for employers, apprenticeships are a long-term commitment and this alone is unlikely to be enough to reverse the decline.

“In addition to emergency measures, we need a long-term strategy to set out what happens next to support employers and providers to deliver apprenticeships at the scale required.”

Association of Employment and Learning Providers managing director Jane Hickie said:

‘These numbers, including the big drop in advertised vacancies, are two months’ old but they show why the government made a serious error in deciding that its Covid provider relief scheme should not cover the large majority of apprenticeship provision.  Providers are now having to take very difficult decisions about reducing capacity despite the measures announced by the chancellor in his summer statement.

‘This is traditionally a very busy time of year for apprentice recruitment of school leavers but compared with a year ago starts are down by over three-quarters for entry level apprenticeships and for 16 to 18 year olds.  Bearing in mind that apprenticeships are work based learning programmes, AELP is also concerned about the repeated stories in the media that many employers are content for their staff to continue working from home at least for the remainder of the year and in some cases much longer.  Great strides have been made in recent months to enable more online learning and assessment of apprentices but this doesn’t offer the silver bullet in terms of restoring the pre-lockdown volumes.

‘The government’s Plan for Jobs will be an acid test for getting the apprenticeship programme back on its feet.  The key question is whether the new employer incentives will be large enough to really make a difference.’

Apprenticeship service data as at June 2020, and apprenticeship starts to May 2020, with separate June 2020 starts covering the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Headline statistics (Main table pack, Table 3) Latest figures for the first 10 months of the 2019/20 academic year (August 2019 to May 2020) show:

  • Apprenticeship starts reported to date are 284,100
  • Proportion of starts on standards was 75.3 per cent (213,800)
  • Proportion of starts supported by ASA levy funds was 67.7 per cent (192,400)
  • The number of apprenticeship starts reported to date for May was 9,000; in May 2019, the number reported at the same point was 22,300

The proportion of starts by level was:

  • Intermediate level: 31.4 per cent (89,100)
  • Advanced level: 43.6 per cent (123,800)
  • Higher level: 25.1 per cent (71,200)

The proportion of starts by age group was:

  • 16-18: 25.1 per cent (71,200)
  • 19-24: 29.6 per cent (84,200)
  • 25 and over: 45.3 per cent (128,700)


Apprenticeships and traineeships main text: July 2020 update

PDF, 343KB, 12 pages

Apprenticeship and levy statistics: July 2020 main tables

MS Excel Spreadsheet, 125KB

Apprenticeship and levy statistics: July 2020 main tables

ODS, 76.1KB

This file is in an OpenDocument format

Apprenticeship starts for June 2020, reported to date

MS Excel Spreadsheet, 67.6KB

Apprenticeship starts for June 2020, reported to date

ODS, 44.2KB

This file is in an OpenDocument format

Vacancies and adverts posted on the Find An Apprenticeship website, by level, from June 2018 to June 2020

MS Excel Spreadsheet, 38.3KB

Vacancies and adverts posted on the Find An Apprenticeship website, by level, from June 2018 to June 2020

ODS, 21.9KB

This file is in an OpenDocument format

Apprenticeship and traineeships: July 2020 metadata for underlying data files

PDF, 114KB, 2 pages

Unrounded raw data set (framework, standard, SSA, level, age): August 2014 to May 2020, reported to date

View onlineDownload CSV 11.1MB

Unrounded raw data set (framework, standard, SSA, level, age): June 2020, reported to date

View onlineDownload CSV 173KB

List of supplementary files published during the 2019 to 2020 academic year: July 2020 update

MS Excel Spreadsheet, 171KB


Apprenticeship and traineeships: July 2020 pre-release access list



Due to the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) on further education and apprenticeship training activity, and the reporting of data, the Department for Education (DfE) replaced the planned further in-year statistics from the Apprenticeship and traineeships: April 2020 release onwards. We will publish the end-of-year releases normally published in November, but replacing the remaining in-year dates enables us to provide releases with more relevant information to cover the period affected by the pandemic.

We intend to make headline statistics such as apprenticeship starts available on a regular basis, and to similar timescales to those currently, but we intend to repurpose our releases to focus on the most relevant information available. Please see the main text document for more information on the replacement to publications.

Email [email protected] to tell us about your key data needs. We’d particularly like to know how often you need data and how you’d like it broken down. For example, by age, level and individual framework or standard.

Read Statistics at DfE to find out about any changes.

This release is an update to the Apprenticeship and traineeships: June 2020 statistics publication and is a repurposed transitionary approach during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Please see the document above, ‘Apprenticeships and traineeships: main text – July 2020 update’, for more information.

We have updated official statistics within the publication to provide:

  • the latest monthly apprenticeship starts to May 2020
  • the number of apprenticeship service commitments as reported at the end of June 2020
  • new, separate tables on apprenticeship starts as first reported for the month of June

The data for June is provided for transparency during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and would not normally be released due to high levels of underreporting at this point in the year (for example June starts as first reported at this point in 2019 were only 70.7% of the final figure). Additionally, the pandemic will have had an unknown impact on provider reporting, which may mean reporting has been affected further. Therefore extra care should be taken in interpreting these data.

For commentary and statistics relating specifically to the latest full academic year (2018 to 2019) please see Further education and skills: November 2019.

We may amend the content and timing of these statistics depending on user feedback and data reporting.

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