The number of apprenticeship starts in England plunged by 12 per cent in December, according to government figures published this morning.

Provisional figures for December 2019, when compared to the same publication last February, reveal a fall of 1,900 in a single month.

The analysis by FE Week shows starts for those under the age of 19 decreased the most, from 3,600 to 2,800, a 22 per cent drop.

Level two saw the largest percentage decrease in December, with a 21 percent fall.

Meanwhile, higher apprenticeships went up by 4 per cent from 2,500 to 2,600.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “Thanks to our reforms, apprenticeships are now longer, higher-quality, with more off-the-job training and have an independent assessment at the end. Our higher quality apprenticeships are also ensuring employers can invest in the people and skills they need.

“We do recognise there is more work to do and we are continuing to look at how the apprenticeship programme can best support the changing needs of businesses so more people can get ahead and all employers can benefit.”

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