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Increase in Apprenticeship Starts .... or is it?

Provisional figures published by the Data Service today shows a 50% increase in the number of Apprenticeship starts from 2009/2010 (nearly 280,000) to 2010/2011 (over 400,000).

As a result Vince Cable has highlighted this Government's unprecedented investment in apprenticeships is working for businesses and creating long term career opportunities for record numbers of trainees.  

While they are quick to herald that numbers have risen across all age ranges and levels of training, by far the biggest growth has been seen in the over 25 age group:

  • Under 19s has only risen by 10% to 128,300
  • 19-24 year old Apprenticeship have risen by 22% to 138,900
  • 25+ age range has risen by over 350% to 175,500

This is of little comfort to young people who are clearly not benefiting to any great extent from this increase in funding.  It is also worth adding that as Apprenticeships are now replacing Train to Gain you would expect to see an increase in the 25+ age range.  Train to Gain has seen a reduction of 127,800 starts in the last year (click here for latest data).  This is uncannily close to the 126,400 rise in 25+ Apprenticeships for the same period, so do the figures really show a stalemate in 25+ work based training?

Vince also stated: I’m particularly pleased that vital sectors like construction, manufacturing and engineering are continuing to back apprenticeships.  

The figures don't quite substantiate that assertion, with this sector seeing only a 5% increase in numbers. Sectors such as Business Admin, Retail and Health seeing between 63% and 95% increase in numbers.  The construction sector has traditionally supported Apprenticeships so todays figures don't seem to indicate any particular growth in that area.

Click here to access the provisional figures from the Data Service (see data table 18).

The moral of this tale - never accept press statements about statistics on face value!


 27 October 2011

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