Apprenticeship starts for June are down 40 per cent on the same month in 2016 – but up 57 per cent on last year.
There have been 22,300 starts recorded so far in June 2018, compared with 37,000 in June 2016 according to the Education and Skills Funding Agency’s monthly apprenticeship statistics update, published this morning.
The 2016 figures are final, whereas the 2018 figures are provisional. June 2016 is a better comparator than June 2017 given that there was a huge drop in starts following the introduction of the levy the previous month.
Comparing first recorded starts for June 2018 to final figures for June 2017 gives an increase of 57 per cent.
However, starts for the month in 2017 were down 62 per cent on June 2016, according to final statistics for the year. There were just 14,200 starts in June 2017, compared with 37,000 in 2016.
According to the commentary published alongside this morning’s statistics, “caution should be taken” in interpreting the figures as they are not final and “it is not possible to determine how complete or incomplete the information returned so far is”.
First reported figures for 2016/17 were “as much as 18 per cent” below the final figures, it said.
“The latest apprenticeship statistics appear to show a new ‘steady state’ of apprenticeship starts of around 20-30,000 per month”, said Stephen Evans, chief executive of the Learning and Work Institute.
“This is much lower than before the introduction of the levy and other reforms and makes the government’s 3 million target look increasingly out of sight.
“The real focus should be on boosting quality and widening access and tackling the barriers to participation that too many groups of people face who would like to take up an apprenticeship.”