We have introduced a wide range of reforms to improve the quality of apprenticeships and to encourage employers across England to create more high-quality apprenticeship opportunities.
Since May 2010, there have been 4,392,000 apprenticeship starts in England. Of these, 55,390 apprenticeship starts have been in Suffolk.
From August 2020, all starts will be on the new apprenticeship standards which are replacing frameworks. These are designed and driven by industry to create apprenticeships that are high quality, providing employers in Suffolk and across England with the skills that they need. Over 510 apprenticeship standards have already been approved for delivery to apprentices.
We are working hard to encourage take-up of our apprenticeship programme. The third phase of the Fire it Up campaign launched in January, targeting those audience groups that contribute to widening participation in apprenticeships. Our 13th annual National Apprenticeship Week took place in February. Nearly 900 events were held across the country, aiming to change perceptions of apprenticeships.
In addition, in January 2018, we introduced a legal requirement for schools to give training providers the chance to talk to pupils about technical qualifications and apprenticeships in order for young people to hear about alternative options to academic routes. We also offer a free service to schools through the Apprenticeship Support and Knowledge (ASK) project to ensure that teachers have the knowledge and support to enable them to promote apprenticeships to their students. In the last academic year, the ASK Programme reached over 300,000 students.
This year (2019-20), funding available for investment in apprenticeships in England is over £2.5 billion, which is double what was spent in 2010. This is supporting employers of all sizes, across England, to provide high quality apprenticeship opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds.
We are moving smaller employers onto our award-winning apprenticeship service to give them a greater choice of training providers. They can also benefit from transferred funds from levy payers. Levy transfers can help to support new apprenticeship starts in supply chains and address local skills needs. Suffolk County Council and New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnerships are working with local employers to take advantage of transfers in order to support more small and medium-sized employers in the area to offer apprenticeships.