Record number of apprentices in the UK

Statistics from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) reveal that nearly 900,000 people are currently undertaking an apprenticeship in Britain, the highest apprenticeship figures since records began.

Huge improvements

During the 2014 and 2015 academic year over 872,000 people were working as an apprentice. Of these there were 518,000 at intermediate level; 348,400 at advanced level and 29,700 at higher level. Nearly 200,000 apprentices were aged under 19 and 678,700 aged 19 and over.

An additional 19,200 people started a traineeship during this time, which was much higher than last year’s traineeship figures.

The government department revealed that they are determined to improve on these figures in the next few years, with a target set in the summer to create three million new apprenticeships by 2020.

As well as this, BIS is looking to ‘‘put an end to low quality apprenticeship courses’’ by implementing a number of reforms including the apprenticeship levy, protecting the term ‘Apprenticeship’ and giving the achievement the same legal treatment as a degree.

David Cameron also announced that contracts involving large government services will focus on hiring more apprentices.

Building the workforce that Britain needs

Businesses have seemed to realise the economic benefit of apprenticeships, with £26 to £28 being returned for every £1 of government investment, which has encouraged thousands more companies to hire a young learner.

The department’s statistics also shined a light on the previous government’s efforts towards the improvement of the apprenticeship sector, with approximately 2.38 million apprenticeships being delivered during the coalition government.

Nick Boles, the government’s skills minister, was delighted with the statistics.

‘‘Our apprenticeship reforms are helping to build the modern highly skilled workforce British businesses need. We are committed to delivering 3 million apprenticeships by 2020 because that means more opportunities for our young people, more growth for our businesses,’’ commented Boles.

‘‘Through protecting apprenticeship quality, reforming funding and working with top universities to launch new degree apprenticeships, we are making sure apprenticeships deliver for individuals, businesses and the economy,’’ continued the skills minister.