According to the latest government figures, there were just 27,000 apprenticeship starts last November – 40% fewer than in 2016.
The government had set a target in May 2015 to hit three million apprenticeship starts by 2020. November 2017 was around the midway point of their target date and the figures showed 1,226,900 apprenticeships starts, 283,100 below their projected figures or an 18% shortfall.
Responding to these latest figures, the skills minister, Anne Milton, said: “Employers had seen a period of significant change over the last year and the DfE would continue to work with them to adjust and respond.” She added, “As employers have two years to spend their levy funds, it is right they plan high-quality apprenticeship training that meets their specific needs and maximises the benefits apprenticeships can bring.”
Chief executive of the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP), Mark Dawe, said: “Here is hard evidence rather than anecdote and we don’t want to hear any more excuses. These latest figures seem to confirm that the government is currently way short of hitting its manifesto target.”
“How many more months’ data do we need before the government starts taking action? AELP is calling for no more employer contributions towards apprenticeships for 16-24 year olds at non-levy paying employers, or at employers that have exceeded their levy.”