Today's Education in the Media blog looks at statistics released by the department on apprenticeship starts.
Yesterday, Thursday 12 October, the department released provisional statistics covering apprenticeship starts and participation as well as further education participation for 2016-2017.
The statistics were picked up by The Times, Financial Times, The Sun and City AM. The main angle that has been covered is the drop in the number of apprenticeship starts between May 2017 and July 2017.
It’s important to note, however, that we expected a drop in apprenticeship starts because we know, and expect, employers to take their time and plan ahead to take full advantage of the new apprenticeship levy, introduced in April 2017.
The new apprenticeship levy gives employers 24 months to spend funds in their apprenticeship service accounts. The department works with all types of levy payers and feedback we have had from them has shown that they are planning to maximise on the opportunities that the levy brings and plan to increase their demand for apprenticeships.
Since May 2015, there have been over 1 million apprenticeship starts, and by 2019/20 the government will have invested £2.45bn in apprenticeships; double what was spent in 2010-11
A Department for Education spokesperson said:
Our apprenticeship reforms have put control back into the hands of employers so they will gain the skilled workforce they need to compete globally, and the effectiveness of them should not be judged on a period of three months.
We know that the last year has been a period of huge change for employers but it is right that they are taking their time to plan ahead and maximise the opportunities the apprenticeship levy can bring. Feedback we have had from levy payers has shown they are doing this and they plan to increase their demand for apprenticeships.