A Decade of Growth for UK Apprenticeships

Posted: 12th of June 2017 by Anonymous

National Apprenticeship Week 2017 marked its 10th edition – marking a decade of bringing together employers and apprentices from across the UK and celebrating apprenticeships and traineeships as the fast-track to a great career.

The number, range and quality of apprenticeship vacancies over this period has increased massively. Not only has the overall number of apprentices risen, from 175,000 starts in 2005/06 to 509,000 starts in 2015/16, but also there are more options in terms of roles and careers.

Table: Apprenticeship Programme Starts by Standard - (2005/06 vs 2015/16)

Apprenticeship Starts

2005/06

2015/16

Intermediate Level

122,800

291,300

Advanced & Higher Level*

52,100

 

Advanced Level

 

190,900

Higher Level

 

27,200

All

175,000

509,400

* Data not split out between Advanced and Higher until 2011/12

Business & Law, Retail, Engineering & Manufacturing and Health & Care Services have remained the four most popular sectors for apprenticeships, but all sectors have shown growth over the last 10 years.

Table: Apprenticeship Programme Starts by Sector - (2005/06 vs 2015/16)

Apprenticeship Starts by Sector

2005/06

2015/16

% Change over Decade

Business Administration & Law

37,870

143,190

+278

Health, Public Services & Care

23,140

132,440

+472

Retail & Commercial Enterprise

40,230

84,680

+110

Engineering & Manufacturing

35,090

78,480

+124

Construction & Built Environment

21,090

21,460

+2

IT & Communication Technology

6,490

16,020

+147

Leisure & Travel

6,300

14,860

+136

Education & Training

110

8,300

+7,445

Agriculture, Horticulture & Animal Care

4,470

8,190

+83

Arts, Media & Publishing

10

1,250

+12,400

Science & Maths

190

500

+163

 

In a bid to continue the growth, the Government has a stated target to create 3 million apprenticeships by 2020. As part of its plan to fulfil this ambition it has backed the development of three main initiatives:

- Trailblazers
- The Apprenticeship Levy
- Institute for Apprenticeship Standards

At the heart of the latest apprenticeship drive is the principle that no one better understands the skills employers need than employers themselves. All three of these initiatives are meant to focus the creation, funding and assessment of the different types of apprenticeships onto them.

Trailblazers

Trailblazers are groups of employers who have been developing apprenticeship standards specific to job roles in their sector. The standards are set out in clear, simple to understand documents that describe what an apprentice must learn to undertake a specific occupation. They are either completely new or designed to replace existing apprenticeship frameworks.

Over 1,300 employers have been involved in developing new apprenticeships as part of this initiative.

The Levy

Employers with an annual payroll of more than £3 million will be required to spend 0.5 per cent of their total payroll on the levy. From this they can either fund their own apprentices or any money not used will go into a general pot to help pay other organisations’ or businesses’ apprenticeship training. See our dedicated article on the Apprenticeship Levy for more details.

The Institute for Apprenticeships

The Institute is also employer-led and will regulate the quality of apprenticeships, taking on overall responsibility for approving new apprenticeship standards and assessment plans. Only standards that are valued by employers will be approved and funded. It is due to start from April 2017.

An even better future for apprenticeships?

The theme of this year’s National Apprenticeship Week was ‘Ladder of Opportunity’ – focusing on the progression routes of apprenticeships, from traineeship through to Higher Apprenticeship, and then even to Degree Apprenticeship.

So as UK apprenticeships move from strength to strength, building on the success of the last decade, the message new apprentices should take is that they can look forward to even more opportunities to get the skills and experience they need to succeed, and that nowadays these opportunities will be even more valued by potential employers.

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