Young people hit hardest again in full-year apprenticeship figures

Apprenticeship starts for the whole of 2020/21 grew marginally on the previous year

Apprenticeship starts for the whole of 2020/21 grew marginally on the previous year

Apprenticeship starts for the whole of 2020/21 grew marginally on the previous year, new figures show.

Provisional data published this morning by the Department for Education has revealed there were a total of 319,400 starts last year compared to 319,000 at the same point for 2019/20 – an increase of 0.1 per cent.

Starts for 2020/21 were, however, still 18 per cent on the 389,000 recorded in 2018/19 – the year before Covid-19 struck.

FE Week analysis shows apprenticeship starts for young people and the lower levels continue to fall while those for adults and the higher levels shoot up.

Starts for 16- to 18-year-olds (64,400) and level 2 (83,700) both dropped by 15 per cent on the previous year. Meanwhile starts for people aged 25 or above (160,900) and level 4 or above (98,100) increased by 8 per cent and 21 per cent respectively.

Final data will not be available until later this year.



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  1. Tim Buchanan

    How about looking at this in percentage terms, 16 to 18-year olds have since the move to all age apprenticeships the starts for this age group have consistently been 22% to 26% of starts, these figures are in that range. Under the frameworks which were often just a skills verification process starts for the 16 to 18-year olds were within the percentage band above. I find it interesting that the headlines are always about numbers which makes for a better editorial narrative.
    The increase in older age groups represents a change in the hiring patterns of some companies, our average age of starts is now 19.1 in 2017 it was 18.2 the type of apprenticeships we offer reflects that 68% of our early talent apprenticeships are degree options, as that is what the company needs, the balance is level 3 and in engineering, we do not have any Level 2 apprentices as that Is not the skill set we are looking for.
    This year we have found it more difficult to recruit in the 16 to 19 age group as more young people have chosen the University or college route, and we are not the only organisation in our sector to reflect that. That will also impact on the figures.
    It is excellent that Level 4 starts and above are increasing as it shows stretch in the requirements of work and it also opens opportunities where the graduates from these programme progress into new roles.
    Often that might create opportunities for others to move into higher roles that also require apprenticeships which is great.
    However, as the skill requirements in many organisations increase then these lower skilled roles are eliminated and the increase in numbers at Level 4 reflects the need for those people to retrain to retain continuity of employment.
    As for Level 2 apprenticeships there is a debate to be had about their worth to those who are undertaking them in many sectors, but that is for another time.
    How about looking at this in percetage terms, 16 to 18 year olds have since since the opening up of apprenticeships the starts for this age group have consistently been 22% to 26% of starts, these figures are in that range. . Secondly
    The increase in older age groups represnets a chnage in the hiring patterns of some compnaies, our average age of starts is now 19.1 in 2017 it was 18.2 opportunities,