Tuesday, 1 September 2015

The past and future of apprenticeship growth in England

CVER's Claudia Hupkau looks at what can be learnt from past apprenticeship growth for the government's 3 million apprenticeship target. 

With GCSE results recently out, many students are now facing the decision of whether to do A-levels or whether to opt for different types of further education, for instance an apprenticeship or a college course.  Given the recent efforts of the government to encourage firms to increase the number of apprenticeships for young people, they are set to become an ever more relevant option for those recently out of school. The government has set itself a target of 3 million new apprenticeships over this parliament.

Measures have been taken to help secure the funding of these 3 million new places via a new apprenticeship levy (see a commentary by Hilary Steedman here). How firms will be encouraged to actually create those places is a question that is yet to be answered.

Considering that over the last parliament the coalition government managed to increase apprenticeship starts from on average 221,000 places annually between the academic years 2005/06 and 2009/10 to on average 460,000 places per year between 2010/11 and 2014/15 (the original data can be found here), it is worth looking at how this growth in numbers was achieved and ask what we can learn from the past experience.