ONS have released the latest Apprenticeships and Traineeships statistics this morning (24 Jan) showing that there has been an overall fall in the number of young people starting an apprenticeship since the Government introduced the Apprenticeship Levy, with today’s figures showing that starts are still 15% below pre-levy levels.

kirstie donnelly 100x100Kirstie Donnelly MBE, Managing Director at City & Guilds Group, said:

“While it’s encouraging to see an uplift in apprenticeship starts in Q1 of the 2018-2019 academic year, compared to the same period in 2017-2018, we are unsurprised to see that these latest figures from the Department for Education show a continued trend in low apprenticeship take-up since the introduction of the levy – which needs to be remedied. At City & Guilds Group we believe that apprenticeships have huge potential to help employers fill critical skills gaps and strengthen the wider economy. With the current climate of socioeconomic uncertainty affecting UK businesses, it’s never been more urgent to improve the skills of our workforce and invest in training and retaining the talent that we already have.

“However, our recent ‘Flex for Success?’ research shows that the Government is not moving fast enough to address employers’ concerns around apprenticeships. 93% of levy-paying businesses cite some form of barrier preventing them from investing in apprenticeships, while 92% are demanding greater flexibility in how they spend their allowance. Businesses are waiting for the employer consultation on apprenticeships, which the Chancellor announced in the Autumn Budget, however we understand that this consultation won’t take place until 2020, which is far too late.

“In our recent ‘Flex for Success?’ research we highlighted eleven recommendations for Government to help them to create an environment in which businesses can really benefit from increased investment in skills development. Changes are needed now to reinvigorate the system, and we cannot wait another year for the pressing needs and concerns of employers to be addressed: we are calling on the Government to take action now.”

Alan Woods OBE 100x100Alan Woods, OBE, CEO of Vocational Training Charitable Trust (VTCT), said:

“The latest set of data regarding  apprenticeship starts is a welcome bit of good news for the sector, and a reminder for businesses of all sizes of the value of apprenticeships. I am particularly pleased that there has been an increase in the number of BAME apprentices and those apprentices with Learning or Disadvantage difficulties at this point compared to last year. Our colleges, independent training providers, Awarding and Assessment Organisations and the Institute for Apprenticeships should take credit for those increases.

“However, a drop in take-up cannot be ignored, particularly with Level 2 (intermediate) apprenticeships, and this is clearly down to the lack of clarity regarding the implementation of apprenticeship reform. British businesses – from all sectors – need clear guidance on how the continuing policy and funding changes to the apprenticeship landscape will be implemented sustainably, and the Government must ensure that the benefits of apprenticeships are promoted to all learners, regardless of age, whilst also backing businesses in giving the opportunity for learners to undertake intermediate (L2) apprenticeships, as they start their careers.”

“The UK must build a strong, viable workforce, equipped with the skills we and they need, and this requires vocational and technical learning embedded throughout our entire education system. We want to see more young people take on vocational and technical career paths and traineeships, and so we need to change hearts and minds in schools, in businesses, and we need to bring learners the confidence of employability.”

MarkDawe 100x100Association of Employment and Learning Providers boss Mark Dawe says:

"Now the infamous IfA slide on levy spend is official, our immediate concern is the tank running dry for non-levy paying employers.  Several training providers started reporting before Christmas that they were up to the hilt on their ESFA contracts and could no longer take the risk of committing to any more starts this year.  This number is growing which means that for the rest of the year with no more money available, smaller businesses will be starved of apprenticeships.  It underlines again why a standalone £1bn budget is needed for non-levy employers.

"Level 2 provision remains another massive issue in the context of Brexit and social mobility.  What on earth has happened to the Chancellor’s promised cut in co-investment which might make a difference?"

 

Ben Rowland100x100Ben Rowland Co-Founder of  Arch Apprentices, said: 

"The growth in apprenticeship starts is great to see, as is the increase in higher level starts.  This suggests that companies are beginning to understand how they can use the reformed apprenticeship system and that momentum is building.

"We have certainly seen this with our own programmes in occupations like Data, Digital and HR which have grown significantly as our clients have become more confident and ambitious with how they use their levy and the new Standards."

Anne milton100x100Apprenticeships and Skills Minister Anne Milton, said:

"I’m thrilled to see that the latest figures show there were 132,000 people starting apprenticeships in the first three months of the 2018/19 academic year – a rise of 15% on this time last year.

"Since we overhauled the apprenticeships system in 2017 more and more employers including leading firms like Royal Mail, Ernst and Young and Channel 4 are recognising the huge benefits apprentices are bringing to their workplaces.

"Apprenticeships offer people, of all ages and backgrounds, a high-quality route to skilled employment with the option to train at every level. You get paid while you train and can start a great career in a huge range of professions like accountancy, nursing, teaching and law.

"I want as many people as possible to know about the amazing apprenticeship opportunities out there. Our new campaign, ‘Fire it Up’, is playing a vital role in this, helping to challenge outdated perceptions around apprenticeships and raising awareness of the huge variety of apprenticeship options available."

Statistics covering apprenticeships and traineeships from August to October 2018. The new stats revealed:

There were 132,000 apprenticeship starts reported so far for the first quarter of the 2018/19 academic year, an increase of 15.4 per cent from 114,400 reported at this time in 2017/18.

However, the 132,000 starts represents a decrease of 15.2 and 13.8 per cent compared to the 155,600 and 153,100 reported at this time in 2016/17 and 2015/16, before the introduction of the apprenticeship levy.

Documents

Apprenticeships and traineeships release: January 2019 - main commentary

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Apprenticeships and traineeships release: January 2019 - main tables

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Apprenticeships and traineeships release: January 2019 - main tables

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Annex: Proposed changes to traineeship measures

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Pre-release access list: Apprenticeships and traineeships release January 2019

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Details

This release presents apprenticeships and traineeships statistics reported to date for the first quarter (August to October 2018) of the academic year 2018 to 2019 for England.

Final data for earlier years is also available, along with data for apprenticeships broken down by:

  • learner characteristics including:
    • gender
    • ethnicity
    • learners with learning difficulties and/or disabilities
  • different geographical areas

Additional breakdowns of this data are available in the FE data library.

We plan to introduce new traineeship measures in our further education and skills release due to be published in March 2019.

For further information about this publication or to provide feedback, please contact:

Further education statistical dissemination team

Matthew Rolfe
Department for Education
2 St Paul’s Place
125 Norfolk Street
Sheffield
S1 2FJ

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Published 24 January 2019

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