The availability of level 6+ and degree apprenticeships has grown significantly. 78 standards available at level 6 and level 7, of which 60 are degree apprenticeships.
The National Apprenticeship Service works with local partners and through an employer engagement campaign across the most deprived local authority areas (65 areas in total) to ensure that apprenticeships are available in disadvantaged areas at all levels. We have also recently launched our ‘Opportunities through Apprenticeships’ campaign, working with partners in Portsmouth, Nottingham, South Tyneside and Torbay to increase participation in apprenticeships particularly at higher levels.
We have specifically supported degree apprenticeships for those under-represented through the Degree Apprenticeship Development Fund. In 2017, we launched the second phase of the fund, which included criteria aimed at encouraging access to degree apprenticeships for: disadvantaged groups, disadvantaged areas, expanding provision in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) and gender diversity in STEM. The fund has also supported a range of awareness-raising activities aimed at higher and degree apprenticeships, including supporting 30 co-branded Universities and Colleges Admissions Service/National Apprenticeship Service careers fairs and offering access to 240,000 Year 12 students.
We have increased the proportion of people starting an apprenticeship from black and minority ethnic backgrounds to 11.2% in 2017/18 from an average of 10% in 2010/15. We have also increased the proportion of apprenticeships starts by people with learning difficulties and disabilities to 11.2 per cent.
We do not differentiate between access or performance criteria at different apprenticeship levels, but we do have programme-wide targets and strive to widen participation across all levels of apprenticeships.