Workplace Report (June 2021)

Learning and training news

Apprenticeships were in decline even pre-Covid

Young potential apprentices were hit disproportionately hard by the fall in the number of apprenticeships started during the first Covid lockdown, which began in March last year.

Overall, in the period 23 March to 31 July 2020, just 60,860 people started apprenticeships, compared with 111,570 in the same period in 2019 – a 45.5% fall. But for those aged under 19 the decline was greater – at 66% – than for those aged 19-24 (47% ) and the over 25s (38%).

Later government figures show that apprenticeships continued to wane in the first half of the next academic year, when there were further lockdowns. The number of starts in the period August 2020-January 2021 was 18% lower than in the equivalent period of 2020 – a fall of 36,700.

Meanwhile, a Labour Party analysis shows that apprenticeships have declined by a third since 2015, with a particular drop among young, poorer learners. For under 25s, apprenticeship starts have declined by 40% in five years, while among young learners from the poorest backgrounds the fall has been even starker, with apprenticeship starts plummeting by 52%, it says.

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