From education to employment

Sector Response to the Provisional Apprenticeship figures

The provisional apprenticeship figures were released today relating to Q1 2016/17 (August 2016 to October 2016). Here is the link to the full stats

Summary of the main figures:

  • There have been 780,000 apprenticeship started since May 2015

In just three months (August 2016 to October 2016):

  • 156,000 apprenticeships were started
  • 9,000 higher apprenticeship were started
  • Apprenticeship participation reported to date is 639,000
  • There were 4,800 apprenticeships started on standards

Sector reaction to the Apprenticeship figures:

Robert Halfon 100x100Apprenticeships and Skills Minister Robert Halfon:

 “Apprenticeships offer people a ladder of opportunity to get on in highly skilled jobs. With 780,000 apprenticeships started since May 2015, we are well on our way to turning this country into an apprenticeships nation.

“I want to build on this success and keep increasing the prestige and quality of apprenticeships to ensure they are on par with traditional academic options.”


MarkDawe 100x100Mark Dawe, Chief Executive for the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) comments:

“While today’s numbers are encouraging, there are nearly 400,000 young people currently looking for work and once the levy starts, we need to make sure that the incentives for employers are sufficient to make sure that more apprenticeship opportunities become available.  We’ve also got to make sure that the smaller non-levy paying employers, many of whom have a long-standing commitment to apprenticeships, aren’t cut adrift from the programme as a result of the recent provider procurement exercise.

 “Last year’s traineeship starts increased and it is great that the government has said that it wants traineeships to grow as stepping stones to apprenticeships.  But the fact is they are not growing fast enough even though providers could deliver more if they were given more funding.  We’ve asked ministers to look hard at how responsive the current funding system is for traineeships.”


lindsay mccurdy 100x100Lindsay McCurdy, Chief Executive of Apprenticeships4England comments about the figures:

“Great News to see that applications for apprenticeship vacancies have risen by 35% but worrying news is that new apprenticeship vacancy positions have fallen by 20%. We now need to make sure that businesses engaged in apprenticeships are creating new opportunities so that new apprenticeships positions are offered, instead of businesses upskilling already employed staff.

“Of the starts in the first quarter of 2016-17, almost 97 per cent were on the apprenticeship framework, with just 3 per cent on apprenticeship standards.

“And 9,110 starts – just under 6% – were at levels 4, 5 and 6, with the majority at level 2 (84,010) or level 3 (62,510).

“It is imperative following the introduction of the apprenticeship levy, that we get incentive initiatives in place for businesses which are sufficient to make sure that more apprenticeship positions become available. The levy has to be work right from the start. We have the interest but we need more apprenticeships positions”.


Stephen Evans LW 100x100Stephen Evans, Chief Executive of Learning and Work Institute said:

“We welcome the continued rise in apprenticeship numbers. Given the introduction of the Levy in the next few months and the recent confirmation of the public sector target, we believe that the government will reach their 3 million target by 2020. It is critical, therefore that we focus on the quality of apprenticeships and upon ensuring access to all who could benefit from them.

“More widely however, this latest release shows a troubling decline in adult participation in further education. Over 800,000 fewer adults are participating in FE, excluding apprenticeships, each year – compared to five years ago. It is of particular concern, given that we know 9 million adults lack basic skills, that nearly 300,000 fewer adults were learning English and Maths in 15/16 than in 11/12.  

“This decline in participation is a consequence of reductions in public funding and that employer and individual investment hasn’t risen to compensate for this.

“For a post-Brexit UK to be a success, and to deliver the ambitions of the Government’s Industrial Strategy, we need a step change in participation in learning. This will require more investment by Government, employers and individuals, as well as new ways of delivering and ensuring learning delivers all it can for our country.”

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