Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
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Press release: On target for a higher skilled workforce

The government confirms that it has smashed its target of supporting 20,000 higher apprenticeship starts.

The government confirmed today (25 June 2015) that it has smashed its target of supporting 20,000 higher apprenticeship starts over the last 2 years. Supporting apprenticeships is a key part of the long term economic plan to help create a highly-skilled and productive workforce across the country.

Today’s figures show that since the start of the academic year 2013 to 2014, over 22,000 higher apprenticeships have already been supported. This target was announced by the Chancellor George Osborne in the Autumn Statement 2013.

There has also been strong growth in traineeships with over 15,000 started in the first 3 quarters of this academic year.

The statistics also show that the government’s efforts to improve the quality of apprenticeships and encourage people to take them up, has resulted in more than 2.3 million apprenticeship starts across the country in the last Parliament.

Building on this success, the government is committed to supporting a further 3 million apprenticeship starts by 2020.

Skills Minister Nick Boles said:

We listened to what employers told us they needed and have invested in apprenticeships to ensure their workforce have the quality skills needed to grow the business. These figures show we are on course to create a modern and competitive workforce that boosts the country’s productivity and prosperity.

The employer-led demand for higher apprenticeships is yet another reminder of the great respect our apprentices command.

Rolls-Royce is one of hundreds of companies that support higher apprenticeships, running their programme at facilities across the UK.

David Campbell, Rolls-Royce Learning and Development Manager said:

We understand the value apprentices can bring to a business and look to attract people with real potential. We provide world-class training, working with industry leading professionals to help drive career ambitions and the company forward.

Jessica Bestwick, aged 21, from Nottingham, is a Higher Technical Apprentice at Rolls-Royce in Derby. She started with the company in September 2012 and is completing an apprenticeship in Mechanical Engineering.

Jessica said:

Thanks to starting a higher apprenticeship with Rolls-Royce, I have been able to progress my career, earning a real wage and gaining a degree at the same time. My job involves working within the different civil aerospace product development teams to gain an understanding of what is involved in developing and manufacturing Civil Large Engines for our customers.

I would never have dreamed when I left school after completing my A-Levels that I would be where I am now. I would recommend a higher apprenticeship to anyone.

‘Business, Administration and Law’ and ‘Health, Public Services and Care’ subject areas led the way with the number of apprenticeship starts since August 2014.

These positive figures follow the Skills Minister’s announcement earlier this month that public bodies – including schools, hospitals, prisons and police forces - will be set clear targets to employ apprentices as part of their workforce and play their part in creating 3 million apprenticeships.

Notes to editors:

  1. Higher apprenticeships offer young people the opportunity to gain the high-level skills required by employers through 12 months on the job experience at the same time as studying for a degree or higher education qualification.

  2. There were 9,200 higher level apprenticeship starts in the 2013 to 2014 academic year, and provisional data show that there were 13,200 starts in the first 3 quarters of the 2014 to 2015 academic year.

  3. Traineeships provide young people with work preparation training, English and maths and work experience to equip them for apprenticeships and sustainable employment.

  4. The Statistical First Release for ‘FE and Skills’ can be found at Further education and skills: statistical first release. It provides provisional data for further education and apprenticeship figures since August 2014 until April 2015. The statistics show:

There were 2.37 million apprenticeship starts created in the last Parliament. The final figure will be confirmed later this year.

English region Number of apprenticeship starts August 2014 to April 2015 (provisional)
North East 26,700
North West 59,300
Yorkshire and The Humber 46,300
East Midlands 36,100
West Midlands 45,900
East of England 34,300
London 32,400
South East 49,000
South West 39,400


Sector Number of apprenticeship starts August 2014 to April 2015 (provisional)
Business, administration and law 105,500
Health, public services and care 92,900
Engineering and manufacturing technologies 65,800
Retail and commercial enterprise 59,500
Construction, planning and the built environment 16,100
Information and communication technology 11,200
Leisure, travel and tourism 10,400

The apprenticeship figures and targets relate to England only.

More information on public sector apprenticeship targets can be found at government kick-starts plans to reach 3 million apprenticeships.


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