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Increasing the number of apprenticeships further is a priority, and we are actively considering how to do so. 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 for people of all ages and backgrounds. In 2019-20, the funding available for investment in apprenticeships in England is over £2.5 billion, which is double what was spent in 2010.
For the smallest employers (fewer than 50 staff) who take on apprentices under 19, we pay 100% of apprenticeship training costs.
Apprenticeship starts in 2018-19 were 393,400, of which 37% (143,600 starts) were at intermediate level (level 2). 25% of starts (97,700 starts) were by apprentices aged under 19.
To ensure that young people hear about the education and employment options available to them, 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. We 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, ASK reached over 300,000 students.
Traineeships are also helping thousands of young people to get the skills and experience that they need to obtain apprenticeships and other jobs. We are strengthening our communications with employers, providers, parents and young people to raise awareness of traineeships and the benefits that they offer. 62% of those who completed a traineeship in 2016-17 progressed to positive destinations, including apprenticeships.