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To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of the factors contributing to the difference in the number of (a) additional 25+ apprenticeship starts and (b) 16-18 and 19-24 apprenticeship starts in the first three quarters of 2010-11.
Apprenticeships are demand led; we do not plan our apprenticeships places or starts by age group. There are a number of factors that contribute to the number of apprenticeship starts including the current climate in the economy, the demand made from employers to employ apprentices, and the age and employment background of the various demographic groups applying for Apprenticeships places.
In previous years there was a limit placed on the number of apprenticeship places for those aged 25 and above. In the current academic year, 2010/11, this limit has been removed. As a result, demand from this large cohort has been strong, leading to an increase in the number of apprentices aged over 25 above overall growth across the programme. The increase in starts at 16-18 is in line with the number expected to implement the Government's strategy to raise the participation age(1).
Information on the number of apprenticeship starts is published in a quarterly statistical first release (SFR). The latest SFR was published on
(1) For the first nine months of 2010/11 there were 326,700 apprenticeship starts made up of:
Under 19: 102,900 (31.5%)
19-24: 102,800 (31.5%)
25+: 121,000 (37.0 %).