Four things we've learned about the apprenticeship levy

New data suggests barely half of levy-paying employers are using the government's apprenticeship service – and many apprentices are over 25

Stephen Exley

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What impact has the apprenticeship levy had since it was introduced? To date, it’s been difficult to say – although some research has suggested the anticipated rush to recruit apprentices hasn’t quite materialised.

New experimental data published today offers an insight through reporting what has happened among levy-paying employers using the apprenticeship service. And the initial results aren’t entirely positive.

Apprenticeships: 4 things we've learned

  1. Almost half of eligible employers haven’t signed up. Just 10,500 accounts were set up by the end of August – barely half of the 19,150 predicted by the Department for Education.
  2. There have been 34,700 “commitments” to take on an apprentice using the new service since May. Of these, 8,000 are still pending approval. Numbers peaked in July at 8,300, but have dropped off since then.
  3. Almost half of the commitments (16,300) relate to apprentices aged 25 and over. Just 7,300 are for apprentices under the age of 19, while 10,700 were in the 19-24 age bracket.
  4. More of the apprenticeship are at lower levels. Some 16,400 were at intermediate levels, with 13,800 at advanced levels and 4,200 at higher levels. The levels of the remaining 200 apprenticeships are unknown.

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Stephen Exley

Stephen Exley

Stephen Exley is a freelance writer, director of external affairs at Villiers Park Educational Trust and former FE editor at Tes.

Find me on Twitter @stephenexley

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