Adult apprenticeship starts continue to increase rapidly

Provisional figures show apprenticeship starts for those aged 25 over increased by 48 per cent in the first half of this year.

The increases were revealed in the Data Service Statistical First Release published today.

For the first two quarters of 2011/12 (Aug 2011 to the end of January 2012) in total 256,500 apprentices started, a 20 per cent increase on the same period last year.

Comparing these provisional figures with the final figures for the same six month period in 2010/11, 16-18 year-old starts have increased one per cent, 19-24 year-old starts have increased 13 per cent and 25+ starts have increased 48 per cent to just over 100,000.

The continued growth of adult apprenticeships this year follows significant increases last year, as in 2010/11 there were 182,100 apprenticeship starts for those aged 25 and over, a rise of 270 per cent compared to 2009/10.

Gordon Marsden, shadow minister for FE contacted FE Week following the release of the figures.

He said: “The latest apprenticeships figures indicate the government is still failing make any real progress in increasing 16-18 apprenticeships and limited progress in the key 19-24 age range.

“The majority of this increase is fuelled by the continued growth in  25+ apprenticeships – most of which would have been previously been categorised as train to gain –  and even these will be at risk when the government introduces its controversial FE loans proposals for apprenticeships at Level 3 and above.”