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Our reforms to apprenticeships have fundamentally changed what apprenticeships are and the long-term opportunities they provide for people of all ages and backgrounds.
The tables below show apprenticeships starts, by age, from 2015/16 to 2018/19, including the percentage change from 2015/16 to 2018/19 and the breakdown of frameworks and standards.
Percentage change 2015/16 – 2018/19
19 to 24
Type of apprenticeship
The number of people starting apprenticeships has fallen across all age groups. A key reason for this is that we are moving away from old apprenticeship frameworks which employers said were not equipping apprentices to do the job; training was often poor or non-existent. As more standards have become available each year, the number of apprentices of all ages starting on standards has increased.
Employers are now in the driving seat, designing apprenticeship standards to give apprentices the skills that industry really needs. Over 63% of starts in 2018/19 were on standards, compared to 44% in 2017/18, and all starts will be on high quality standards from August 2020.
To promote apprenticeships to younger people, we launched the third phase of our apprenticeships marketing campaign, Fire it Up, in January. The campaign shines a spotlight on how apprenticeships can provide opportunities for ambitious young people and support businesses to diversify their workforce. Our annual National Apprenticeship Week will take place in February and celebrate the impact of apprenticeships on individuals, employers and the economy.
In 2019, we engaged with over 16,500 students in years 10 to 13, and 2,000 schools and colleges used the Apprenticeship Activity Pack for students. Throughout the year, our Apprenticeship Support and Knowledge (ASK) programme ensures that schools and colleges across England have free support to develop apprenticeship awareness activities.
The apprenticeship levy underpins our reforms to increase the quality of training and to support employers of all sizes to make a sustainable investment in the skills they need to grow.
We have already made changes to the levy in response to our engagement with employers. In April 2019, we raised the cap on transfers to 25%. We have already seen employers making use of transfers to support apprenticeship starts in their supply chains or to meet local skills needs.
In January, we extended the use of transfers to cover the full cost of training for 16 to 18-year-olds, eligible 19 to 24-year-olds and for receiving employers with fewer than 50 employees, creating opportunities for organisations who may have previously felt that employing an apprentice was beyond their reach. We are committed to continuing to look at how we can improve the working of the levy to ensure it delivers the skilled workforce that employers need.