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Increase in Apprenticeships - Behind the Figures

A press release today heralds an increase 63.5 percent in the number of apprenticeship starts from 2009/10 to 2010/11. Skills Minister John Hayes highlights the, "Clarity of policy, strength of commitment and certainty of purpose has delivered record numbers of apprenticeship starts, outstanding success rates and growth across all sectors. This success, mirrored in every English region, is putting businesses on stronger ground to deliver a more balanced economy. It is equipping young people with the skills that build prosperous careers, and forging communities in which the common good is served through creative endeavour and purposeful pride."

But look behind the headline at the Statistical First Release (download here) for the full story. It is excellent news that the number of apprenticeships for under 19s has increased, but this increase is only 12.3 percent.  The biggest increase in apprenticeships has been among the 25+ age group, which has seen a staggering 270 percent increase.  And the reason for this?  Apprenticeships have been a direct replacement for Train to Gain so there is actually little variation in the number of individuals receiving the training, just the programme type.

The following table shows the headline figures from each type of provision.




% Change


% Change

All Apprenticeships






Workplace Learning eg Train to Gain & Employer Responsive












No doubt there has also been an increase in apprenticeships across the age ranges but this again isn't straightforward.  The table below gives a breakdown of the 2010/11 figures by age group, showing the increase on 2009/10 figures:

  Number Increase
Apprenticeships Under 19 131700 12.8%
Apprenticeships 19-24 143400 26.0%
Apprenticeships 25+ 182100 270.9%

If you'd like to look behind the figures for yourself download the spreadsheet and reach your own conclusions!  As always, our lesson is never to believe the headlines.


31 January 2012

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