We now know that the first three months of the new apprenticeship funding regime went as badly as some were predicting.

The Department for Education’s response to FE Week suggested it was unfazed by the 61 percent fall in starts, although requests for an interview with the minister Anne Milton went unanswered.

But the DfE is probably right that many big employers will, given more time, work out how to use their levy pot and more through the 90 percent subsidised co-investment model.

But the figures the DfE refuses to share (we did ask) are the starts in May to July within each industry sector.

Anecdotal evidence suggests lower-level heath and care apprenticeships have been decimated while generic team leader and higher-level management qualifications and degrees are picking up unstoppable steam.

Do we really want to switch funding away from job creation in health and care to management skills for existing and often already senior employees?

FE Week exposed and warned about the unstoppable rise in management apprenticeships over a year ago.

I’ve repeatedly said that employer-ownership simply isn’t compatible with social justice – so at some point levy funding will need ring-fencing so it is only spent only on priorities.

Priorities which, according to the Conservative manifesto commitment, include three million apprenticeship starts for YOUNG people.

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