‘High quality skills and apprenticeships lie at the heart of the government’s drive to create the skilled workforce British industry needs to thrive, to boost productivity and build an economy that works for all’ (DfE press release 06/10/16)
As the DfE attempts to talk up apprenticeships, its own data* paints a rather different story. It’s true that between August 2015/16 there were 503,100 starts, slightly up on the previous year, but Cameron also promised that apprenticeships would be high skilled and provide opportunities for young people. Here the figures continue to be disappointing.
Only 130 000 of new starts have by under 19 year olds (up by just 5000 compared to last year) with those 25+ being the largest group (221,000)
60% continue to be at Level 2/ GCSE level (87, 000 of these by under 19 year olds). The number of Advanced Level starts has barely increased since last year. The number of Higher Level (equivalent to starting at university) are up by nearly 30%, but there were still only 27 000 (just 1,700 starts by those under 19)