The number of people participating in apprenticeships and traineeships is on the rise, new figures reveal.

Provisional figures for the first half of the 2014 to 2015 academic year show increased growth in the number of people in an apprenticeship or traineeship compared with the same period last year. Almost 670,000 people were learning while earning in an apprenticeship during the first half of the year, including more than 400,000 16 to 24 year olds.

Traineeships continue to grow, with more than 9,000 started since August 2014. Traineeships have helped to give young people essential skills and experience needed to get an apprenticeship or job.

Skills Minister Nick Boles said:

“Apprenticeships deliver for employers, young people, adults and the economy. Today’s figures show that the long-term economic plan is working as more and more people across the country reap the benefits of apprenticeships.”

The figures also show a growth in the number of people taking up higher apprenticeships, with more than 19,000 people participating during the first half of the year. Although being relatively new, higher apprenticeships are increasing rapidly and are providing new entry routes into professions such as accountancy and law.

Boles adds:

“I am greatly encouraged to see the significant growth in traineeships. Despite only being in their second year, traineeships are equipping thousands of young people with the experience and skills essential for the workplace.”

A skilled population is crucial to maintaining the international competitiveness of the economy as well as giving people the opportunity to reach their full potential. The data reveals that more than 80 percent of adults aged 19 to 64 are qualified to at least level 2 in England, which is equivalent to five or more GCSE’s at grades A* to C. This reveals a year-on-year increase since 2008.