Government data shows dramatic rise in higher apprenticeships

The UK government has cited a commitment to getting 3m people into higher apprenticeships by 2020

An increasing number of young people are entering into apprenticeship schemes, new government figures reveal, with 11,000 higher apprenticeships launched between August 2015 and January 2016.

More than 30,000 people have started higher apprenticeships, in which students work while they learn, with over 84,000 under-19s starting apprenticeships on the whole. In addition to this, there were 12,400 traineeships started in the same time period. 

Nick Boles, skills minister, said: "Apprenticeships offer the life changing opportunities working people deserve. The growth in the number of higher apprenticeships is fantastic, and shows that apprenticeships deliver the advanced, technical skills businesses need. Apprenticeships and traineeships are creating the highly skilled workforce our employers and economy need. We are well on our way to creating 3 million apprenticeships by 2020."

There have been 2.7 million apprenticeship starts since May 2010, with 366,000 starts having occurred under the current parliament.

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These statistics are in contrast to those released by Tech Partnership this week, which claimed half of employers in the UK do not currently run apprenticeship schemes despite acknowledgement of their importance to reducing the country's digital skills gap.

In 2015, research from Tech Partnership in association with the Office of National Statistics and Experian revealed that 85 per cent of companies blame the current skills shortage on difficulty finding qualified staff.

From April 2017 the government will introduce the apprenticeship levy which involves 0.5 per cent of businesses' total payroll bill being paid towards the national apprenticeship program after which more companies expect to take on apprentices.

The government has announced its commitment to supporting apprenticeships, aiming to hit three million by 2020, due to their unique ability to produce workers with highly sought-after, technical skills.

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