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First set of pandemic apprenticeship data showing a huge fall: Training providers comment after PM’s statement

Mark Dawe

@AELPUK respond to Official data published this morning shows that have been 13,020 apprenticeship starts reported to date between 23 March and 30 April 2020, fewer than the 26,330 reported for this period at this point last year

Of the starts reported during this period in 2019/20:

  • Learners aged 25+ make up nearly two-thirds (66%) of starts; this was 55.8% in the previous year.
  • Intermediate apprenticeships accounted for 22.7% of starts; this was 36.8% in 2018/19.
  • Higher apprenticeships accounted for 33.8%, nearly double the proportion reported in 2018/19 (17.1%).
  • • Business, Administration and Law and Health, Public Services and Care were the dominant sector subject areas comprising 70.2% of starts in 2019/20. These were also the main sector subject areas the previous year, however they represented a smaller proportion of starts (61.2%).
  • Concerningly 16-18 starts proportionally accounted for just 8% of all starts – this time last year it was 15.3%.

 MarkDawe 100x100Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) Chief Executive Mark Dawe said:

“After yesterday’s pre-pandemic figures showing an increase in the number of young people who are NEET, today’s data is extremely worrying for young people who were looking to start an apprenticeship or traineeship this year. 

“The Prime Minister is absolutely right in saying that apprenticeships should play a ‘huge part in getting people back into the jobs market’ but the big problem is that Downing Street and the Department for Education are not singing from the same hymn-sheet.  A large drop in apprenticeship opportunities for young people is already hitting a fragile infrastructure. 

“The Prime Minister’s ambition for the importance of apprenticeships, which is shared by many commentators and the Labour Party, can only be realised if DfE ministers finally smell the coffee and become supporters of the sector through actions rather than words.”

Apprenticeships and traineeships: May 2020

Apprenticeship service data as at April 2020, and apprenticeship starts to March 2020, with separate April 2020 starts covering the coronavirus outbreak.

Impact of the apprenticeship levy and COVID-19 As of May 2017, reforms have been made to how apprenticeship funding works, including the introduction of the apprenticeship levy and apprenticeship service. The profile of apprenticeship starts changed significantly since the introduction of the levy which, along with the introduction of apprenticeship standards (that are replacing frameworks), has impacted on the number and nature of apprenticeship starts and participation.

The latest monthly apprenticeship data now includes data relating to the period affected by COVID-19, i.e. from March 2020 onwards (note: the UK lockdown was announced on 23 March so is likely to have impacted on starts in the last week of March).

Therefore, extra care should be taken in comparing and interpreting data presented in this release. The apprenticeship starts data are based on the ninth Individualised Learner Record (ILR) data return for the 2019/20 academic year from data providers, with a return date of 6 May 2020.

Headline statistics

Latest figures for the first 8 months of the 2019/20 academic year (August 2019 to March 2020) show:

  • Apprenticeship starts reported to date are 260,100
  • The proportion of starts on standards was 74.8 per cent (194,400)
  • The proportion of starts supported by ASA levy funds1 was 66.5 per cent (172,900)
  • The proportion of starts by level was:

o Intermediate level: 32.2 per cent (83,600)
o Advanced level: 43.8 per cent (113,900)2 o Higher level: 24.1 per cent (62,600)

  • The proportion of starts by age group was:

o 16-18: 26.4 per cent (68,700) 
o 19-24: 29.5 per cent (76,800) 
o 25 and over: 44.1 per cent (114,600)

  • The number of apprenticeship starts reported to date for March was 19,600; in March 2019, the number reported at the same point was 25,600

Apprenticeships and traineeships: main text – May 2020 update

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