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I refer the hon. Member to my answer of
The apprenticeships programme is demand-led. Government do not plan apprenticeship places by level but provides funding and forecasts the overall number of places that may be afforded. We rely on employers and providers to work together to offer sufficient opportunities to meet local demand, taking advantage of the greater freedoms and flexibilities that we have created in the further education system.
In 2009-10, the planned expenditure on participation in apprenticeship training was £1,042 million(1). The apprenticeship budget for the 2010-11 financial year is £1,328 million(2): £780 million for 16 to 18-year-olds; £548 million for 19+. We expect to spend over £1,400 million in the 2011-12 financial year: £799 million for 16 to 18-year-olds; £605 million for those aged 19 and over(3).
The total volume of apprenticeship starts in 2009/10 was 279,700. This is an increase of 16.6% compared to 2008/09. Of these there were:
190,500 apprenticeship (Level 2) starts-a 20.2% increase on 2008/09;
87,700 advanced apprenticeship (Level 3) starts-a 7.9% increase on 2008/09;
1,500 higher level apprenticeship (Level 4+) starts-a large increase on 2008/09.
We have ensured there is sufficient funding in place to train over 350,000 apprentices in England in the 2010/11 academic year. For the 2011/12 academic year, our indicative forecast is to fund over 360,000 apprenticeship places. The levels that these places are at will be determined by the level of skills employers actually need in their business.
Provisional data show that there were 119,800 apprenticeship starts in the first quarter of the 2010/11 academic year. Of these there were:
76,300 apprenticeship (Level 2) starts;
42,300 advanced apprenticeship (Level 3) starts; and
1,200 higher level apprenticeship (Level 4 or higher) starts.
We are committed to improving, expanding and re-shaping apprenticeships so that Level 3 becomes the level to which learners and employers should aspire. We will also ensure there are clear routes into apprenticeships to widen access to the programme, and clear routes into higher level skills training including, but not exclusively, Level 4 apprenticeships.
(1) LSC grant letter for 2009-10