Yesterday, Thursday 23 November, we published the further education and skills data which includes final full year apprenticeship figures for the 2016-17 academic year, as well as final, full-year figures for previous years.
The figures show the number of apprenticeships starts have dropped by 59% between May and July 2017. We introduced the new apprenticeship levy in April this year. This gives employers 24 months to spend funds in their apprenticeship service accounts, so it is right that they are taking their time to plan ahead and maximise the opportunities the apprenticeship levy can bring.
We maintain dialogue with all types of levy payers and feedback we have had from them has shown they are taking their time to maximise opportunities for the levy and they plan to increase their demand for apprenticeships.
Since May 2015 we have seen 1.1 million apprenticeship starts to date. We are committed to transforming the skills landscape to ensure there are high quality apprenticeship opportunities for millions of people of all ages and from all backgrounds.
The total investment in apprenticeships in England will be £2.45 billion by 2019/20 which is double what was spent in 2010-11.
A Department for Education spokesperson said:
We have put employers at the heart of our reforms so they get the skilled workforce they need to compete internationally. We are transforming the skills landscape and progress should not be judged on the basis of a few months’ worth of data. There has been over 1.1 million apprenticeship starts since May 2015 and we remain committed to reaching 3 million apprenticeship starts in England by 2020.
“We know that the last year has been a period of huge change for employers but it is right that employers 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.
You can view the full statistical releases here