Exclusive: National apprenticeship achievement rates on the rise again

The Skills Funding Agency (SFA) twice delayed publication of the 2014/15 nationwide qualification achievement rates (QAR) – but FE Week can reveal that the apprenticeship success rate has bounced back 2.8 percentage points to 71.7 per cent.

FE Week described in December how the publication of the QAR for 2014/15 had been pushed back, with promises it would be published “towards the end of March”.

The data would normally have been published in January, and the rates were also missing from the Statistical First Release publication at the end of March owing to “changes to the collection and storage of the data”.

However, this morning colleges and training providers were given access to 2014/15 QAR figures via the SFA’s online “hub” system, and despite failing to indicate an update had been made, the SFA also added the figures to their March Statistical First Release publication (see image above).

Sue Husband, director of apprenticeships at the Skills Funding Agency, suggested at the FE Week Annual Apprenticeship Conference “that we are trending back in the right direction”, and this is now shown in the official figures.

The national apprenticeship all age and level QAR fell 3.4 percentage points from 72.3 per cent for 2012/13 to 68.9 per cent for 2013/14, but has since bounced back 2.8 percentage points to 71.7 per cent.

It is not however all good news, as the higher apprenticeship QAR figures in particular fell 7 percentage points to just 64.3 percent.

A new reporting system for the 2014/15 QARs is for the first time using interactive dashboards via the Hub.

An SFA spokesperson previously told FE Week this would give providers and stakeholders “more information than we were able to publish in the PDF reports that were distributed through the provider gateway”.

See more analysis in the next edition of FE Week

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  1. Having spent yesterday looking through the QAR reports via the new interactive dashboards, I can confirm that they provided less useful information and barely function as intended. You cannot download the data tables in PDF form and when you try to in Excel of pivot tables they are full of errors in the presentation that make them unusable. The help feature on the dashboards is useless as it links to the designers website and most of it is geared towards users that have access to the hierarchy of the programming not the end user.
    All in all a thoroughly disappointing experience that has prioritised graphical imaging over actual useable data. Little functionality to export to a useful medium, and a very slow running site that takes minutes to access and download individual pages (this has been the case since its inception and at all times, I realise yesterday would be a heavy traffic day)

  2. Matt Garvey

    The Hub is the worst ever government portal. In comparison to the EFA Data Exchange, SLC portal and Bravo it is clunky, slow and unfriendly. I dread using it. In relation to the national achievement rates I am glad that the dreadful decline in quality has been arrested. However, before we dance around the Maypole rates are still ridiculously low. We should not celebrate less than 3 in 4 apprentices completing their programme. We should focus on an 80% achievement rate by closing the persistently poor colleges and providers who are allowed to function are rates below 50%.