The government has exceeded its target, announced by the Chancellor George Osborne in the Autumn Statement of 2013, of supporting 20,000 higher apprenticeship starts over the last two years, confirmed in provisional statistics published at the end of last week.
Since the start of the academic year 2013/14, over 22,000 higher apprenticeships have already been supported and there have been over 15,000 traineeship starts in the first three quarters of this academic year. The government is committed to supporting a further three million apprenticeship starts by 2020, a pledge that was part of the Conservatives successful election campaign that ended in May. Supporting apprenticeships is a key part of their long-term economic plan to help create a highly-skilled and productive workforce across the country.
There has also been strong growth in traineeships with over 15,000 started in the first three quarters of this academic year.
The statistics also appear to show that the government’s efforts since 2010 to improve the quality of apprenticeships and encourage people to take them up have had a significant impact, with more than 2.3 million apprenticeship starts across the country in the last Parliament.
Speaking after the publication of these figures, Skills Minister Nick Boles said, “We listened to what employers told us they needed and have invested in apprenticeships to ensure their workforce have the quality skills needed to grow the business. These figures show we are on course to create a modern and competitive workforce that boosts the country’s productivity and prosperity. The employer-led demand for higher apprenticeships is yet another reminder of the great respect our apprentices command.”
Rolls-Royce is one of many companies that are now supporting higher apprenticeships, running their programme at facilities across the UK. David Campbell, Rolls-Royce learning and development manager, is a strong admirer of what apprenticeships can offer.
“We understand the value apprentices can bring to a business and look to attract people with real potential,” says Campbell, “We provide world-class training, working with industry leading professionals to help drive career ambitions and the company forward.”
Jessica Bestwick, aged 21, from Nottingham, is a Higher Technical Apprentice at Rolls-Royce in Derby. She started with the company in September 2012 and is completing an apprenticeship in Mechanical Engineering.
She said, “I would never have dreamed when I left school after completing my A-Levels that I would be where I am now. I would recommend a higher apprenticeship to anyone.”
The Statistical First Release for ‘FE and Skills’ can be found at Further education and skills: statistical first release (Gov).