Apprenticeships starts continue to rise

Skills minister says increase in number of people on new apprenticeships 'excellent news'

Julia Belgutay

apprenticeship starts levy anne milton training FE colleges

The number of apprenticeship starts is continuing to recover, according to the latest statistics from the Department for Education.

The data, released today, shows there were 225,800 apprenticeship starts reported to date between August 2018 and January 2019 for the 2018-19 academic year. This is significantly more than the 206,100 reported in the same period in 2017-18, the months after the apprenticeship levy was introduced and the number of starts collapsed. 

Read more: DfE unlikely to meet apprenticeship target, says NAO

More news: Apprenticeship starts up 13% this academic year

Background: Independent training providers lose apprenticeship market share 

Move to standards

The number remains below the number of apprenticeship starts for 2016-17, when 269,600 people started apprenticeships, and 2015-16, when it was 264,600.

Of the 225,800 apprenticeship starts reported so far in 2018-19, 60 per cent (135,400) were on the new apprenticeship standards. 43.6 per cent of all apprenticeship starts in 2017-18 were standards, and that figure stood at 5 per cent in 2016-17.

The government has committed to all apprenticeship starts being on standards by the start of the 2020-21 academic year, at which point all apprenticeship frameworks will be withdrawn.

'Excellent news'

Ms Milton said it was “excellent news that the number of people starting on our new high-quality apprenticeships in the first two quarters 2018-19 increased by 10 per cent compared to last year”.

“We overhauled the apprenticeships system almost two years ago to the day and we have made good and steady progress. Apprenticeships are now longer, higher-quality, with more off-the-job training and provide for a proper assessment at the end, with the levy-giving employers the flexibility to invest in the skills they need for the future. I’m delighted that thousands of employers large and small are now embracing the huge benefits apprenticeships are bringing to their business and offering people of all ages and backgrounds the chance to progress.“

The figures also show that there were 300 commitments to transfer levy funding to other organisations entered into the apprenticeship service as at 28 February – of which 150 materialised into apprenticeships starts. In April 2018 it became possible for levy-paying organisations to transfer up to 10 per cent of the annual value of funds entering their apprenticeship service account to other organisations in the apprenticeship service. This will increase to 25 per cent from April 2019.

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Julia Belgutay

Julia Belgutay

Julia Belgutay is head of FE at Tes

Find me on Twitter @JBelgutay

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