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BIS reveals surge in Apprenticeship starts

The number of people starting Apprenticeships has jumped since last year, according to official data released today.

According to provisional figures in the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) quarterly report, 326,700 people started Apprenticeships this academic year; 279,700 did so last fiscal year.

Apprentices over the age of 19 accounted for 58% of last year’s figure, and 68% of this year’s figure, the data shows.??

Ministers have made increasing Apprenticeships a cornerstone of their plans to reduce unemployment.

In November 2010, Business Secretary Vince Cable and Skills Minister John Hayes announced plans to create an extra 75,000 adult Apprenticeships by 2014-15.??Mr Hayes, who spoke to FE News earlier this week about creating “more Apprenticeships than Britain has ever seen before”, welcomed today’s figures.

He said: “Today marks an historic achievement by learners, employers and training providers. We’ve achieved growth at every level and for all age groups.”??

Mr Cable added: “We’re determined to do more to boost growth, rebalance the economy, extend opportunity and break down barriers between academic and vocational learning.

“??The provisional data also shows that 122,800 people finished Apprenticeships this academic year; 171,500 did so last fiscal year. BIS was unable to clarify numbers of drop-outs, but said the apprenticeship success rate had jumped from 48.6% in 2005/06 to 73.8% in 2009/10.

TUC’s unionlearn, which promotes lifelong learning among union members, welcomed the rise in apprenticeships, but urged the government to ensure that the Apprenticeship industry offers “quality as well as quantity”.

Director Tom Wilson said: “Apprentices must be paid fairly and provided with the opportunity for career and academic progression.”??He added that only eight per cent of employers are providing Apprenticeships, warning against becoming “complacent about the growth in numbers”.

Rachel Millard

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