To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to meet its target of delivering 3 million apprenticeships; and what the timeframe is to meet that target.
In 2015 we set an ambitious goal of 3 million apprenticeships by 2020, and that remains our ambition but we will not sacrifice quality to get there.
We have introduced a wide range of reforms to apprenticeships to improve their quality and encourage employers across England to increase the number of apprenticeships they offer.
New apprenticeship standards across all levels are being designed and driven by industry to give apprentices the skills that businesses really need. Over 420 standards are available for employers to use, and we can see that employers are moving quickly to this new higher-quality offer. During the first half of 2018/19, nearly 60% of starts were on the new standards.
We are supporting employers to make the long-term, sustainable investment in training which will generate more apprenticeship starts. We have halved the co-investment rate from 10% to 5% for new starts from April 2019, to ease the cost of apprenticeship training for smaller employers. Later this month we will increase the amount that levy paying employers can transfer to other employers from 10% to 25%.
In addition, our new communication campaign, ‘Fire It Up’, is supporting our ambition to expand apprenticeships so that even more people can benefit from the long-term opportunities they provide.