Apprenticeship starts for the period August 2018 to March 2019 are up 9 per cent on the previous year, new government data shows.
However, they’re 21 per cent down for the same period in 2016/17 – the year before the levy reforms were introduced.
Provisional figures for March show 25,600 starts, up 7 per cent on the 23,900 provisional starts published at this time last year but still well down on the final figures for the same month in 2017.
March 2017 is a better comparator than March 2018 given that there was a huge drop in starts following the introduction of the levy in May 2017.
There have been 285,000 apprenticeship starts reported to date between August 2018 and March 2019 for the 2018/19 academic year. This compares to 261,200 reported in the equivalent period in 2017/18, and 362,400 in 2016/17.
Apprenticeships and skills minister Anne Milton said: “I’m very pleased that the number of people starting apprenticeships has increased by 9.1 per cent compared to this time last year. It is also good news that more people are starting their apprenticeship journey on our new high-quality apprenticeship standards – an increase of 65.6 per cent so far this year compared to the same period last year.
“We have reformed apprenticeships so they are now longer, higher quality, with more off-the-job training and with proper assessment at the end. New and exciting apprenticeship opportunities are becoming available all the time from baker, carpenter, aerospace engineer or architect.”