Government set to miss apprenticeship target by a massive 800,000 starts

Latest official apprenticeship figures, published this morning, reveal the government is set to miss their manifesto commitment by a huge 800,000 starts.

AELP verdict: a shocking indictment of how a well-intentioned idea has gone wrong

In the 2015 manifesto, the Conservative Party said: “We have already delivered 2.2 million new apprenticeships over the last five years” and set an ambitious target of 3 million. A target they kept in the 2017 manifesto.

But with just a few months remaining, the latest figures show a trajectory of achieving 2.2 million starts again. So potentially, no growth at all (see below).

And as reported this morning by FE Week, since the levy was introduced the number of young people starting apprenticeships has continued to fall.

Conversely, for those aged 25 and over, the number of starts rose last year.


Responding the figures, Mark Dawe, chief executive of the Association of Employment and Learning Providers, told FE Week: “It really is a shocking indictment of how a well-intentioned idea has gone wrong.  The three main parties have promised reform in their election manifestos and it is clear from these statistics where their priorities must lie.”

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  1. Philip Gorst

    So, let’s launch a government initiative that will be so complicated that small businesses will be turned off the idea. Oh, here’s another thought – let’s penalise providers who cannot demonstrate the 20% OTJ/OTJ rule to the minutest detail.

    Hang on, there’s something else we’ve missed – let’s threaten providers with Ofsted and the ESFA, irrespective of their previous excellent history.

    What was that you just said? Apprenticeship starts are down? Providers are handing contracts back? All the money has been spent on level 7 programmes? And we were told this four years ago?

    Surely not!

  2. My son was offered a full time job after he left school but was told that it had to be an apprenticeship. No training provider was able to provide a course suited to this bespoke business so the owner of the company had to turn him down. He then applied for an apprenticeship but had to travel 3 hrs on a bus to the interview at the training provider only to then have to keep chasing them up for feedback for weeks after. The last time he rang no one answered the phone. He applied for 3 more apprenticeships (all with training providers and not the actual company he would be working for) and only heard back from one where he was told someone would call him for a phone interview sometime in the next 4 weeks!!! So hes STILL without an apprenticeship, feels despondent and is doing part time work for the family. I feel so angry that no support is available for 16 year olds… the whole system needs an overhaul.