Department for Education Releases Apprenticeship Data

29th March 2018

The Department of Education released its latest apprenticeship report today, 29th March 2018.

It shows a drop nationally in apprenticeship starts in the last quarter of 25% but a lower drop of 7% in hours taught, highlighting a move towards more difficult, technical apprenticeships at Levels 4, 5 and 6 (Degree). Richard Wright, Executive Director of Sheffield Chamber and Chair of the UTC Multi Academy Trust added "At a time when we have significant skill shortages reported amongst many of our members this is deeply disappointing data which questions the whole ethos of the apprenticeship levy. It is difficult to argue that the move towards more technically taxing apprenticeships is a success when the overall number of starts is dropping so much. "Ironically this region comes out better than most. The Sheffield College reported a decent increase in apprenticeships last year and the fact that over 35% of people leaving the UTC's go on and do degree level apprenticeships at university is a real success. Add to this what is happening at the AMRC training centre and the imminent opening of the Rail College in Doncaster and we have a reasonably optimistic picture. "Whilst we should celebrate those successes we all know it is not enough yet. For the regional economy to continue to grow in the areas we have identified we need more investment in the existing workforce combined with a higher focus on higher level vocationally led qualifications. Its something the new mayor needs to cut across Local authority boundaries about and make happen." Original article via BCC: BCC: Work needed to reverse fall in apprenticeships Commenting on the Apprenticeship Levy statistics, published today by the Department for Education, Jane Gratton, Head of Business Environment and Skills Policy at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: -With our research showing three quarters of businesses facing skills shortages, it is vital that employers can recruit young people into the business and upskill workers at every level of the workforce. -Apprenticeships are very much part of the solution, but the restrictions and complexity around the use of the Apprenticeship Levy have made it more difficult for firms to use them to train staff and plug skills shortages. Since the Levy was introduced nearly a year ago, we have seen a worrying fall in the number of new apprenticeships started. This is limiting opportunities for people and could impact on business competitiveness. Something must be done urgently to reverse this trend. -The Government urgently needs to work with businesses to find ways to make the Apprenticeship Levy work better for everyone, and ensure that the UK economy has the skilled staff it needs. Some quick fixes include giving firms more time to source apprenticeship training, introducing more flexible payment schedules and doing more to help SMEs access apprenticeship funding.

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