From education to employment

Crash in apprenticeship and FE numbers demands revolution in lifelong learning

Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson Layla Moran

Further education and skills: January 2020

The Liberal Democrats have today (30 Jan) called for “a revolution in lifelong learning” in response to new data revealing over 38,000 fewer people took part in government-funded further education, skills training and apprenticeships between August 2019 and October 2019 compared to a year earlier.

The statistics, published by the Department for Education today, also reveal apprenticeship starts have decreased to 125,800 from 132,000, a decrease of 4.7 per cent over the same period. 

Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson Layla Moran said: 
“As our technology improves and the population ages, our economy is going to change rapidly. It is therefore no suprirse that business leaders are worried that too few workers will have the skills our country will need.

“These statistics show the Conservative Government is fundementally failing to reassure business by helping to equip our workforce for these future challenges.

“Everyone, no matter their background, has the right to learn new skills and develop their talents. We need a revolution in lifelong learning that puts people in control of when and how they learn.

“Liberal Democrats are therefore  campaigning to give every adult a lifelong learning account to spend on education and training throughout their lives.”

According to the Department for Education releases published today:

Participation in government-funded further education (FE) and skills (including apprenticeships) in quarter 1 of 2019/20 has fallen to 1,132,700, from 1,171,500 in quarter 1 of 2018/19, a decrease of 3.3 per cent, whilst Apprenticeship starts have decreased to 125,800 from 132,000 in quarter 1 of 2018/19, a decrease of 4.7 per cent.

Learner participation and achievements in England (August to October 2019, reported to date):


Further education and skills: January 2020 main text

PDF, 446KB, 13 pages

Statistics covering apprenticeships, including the apprenticeship service, and traineeships from August to October 2019, reported to date.


Apprenticeships and traineeships: January 2020 main text


This document contains further education and skills statistics in England, including learner participation and achievements, covering the first quarter (August to October 2019) of the 2019 to 2020 academic year (reported to date).

This release is a transitionary approach while we move all our further education and apprenticeship releases to a new dissemination platform, which we plan to do during 2020. See the ‘Changes in the next release’ section in the main text for further details.

Headline further education figures include traineeships and apprenticeships where appropriate. However, for commentary specifically corresponding to these, see the Apprenticeships and traineeships: January 2020 statistics publication.

This comprises adult (aged 19 and over) government-funded further education (excluding schools and higher education) comprising:

  • education and training
  • English and maths
  • community learning

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