The office for national statistics (ONS) released the latest apprenticeship figures on January 24, 2019. The data shows some promising signs but there is still much room for improvement to boost the number of people taking advantage of the earn while you learn opportunities an apprenticeship offers.
It is no surprise that the latest data from the Department for Education shows that apprenticeship starts are still down on pre-levy numbers (15% in fact), but it is good to see there is an increase in the number of starts when comparing with the same period in 18/19 to 17/18.
According to the report, there were 132,000 apprenticeship starts in the first quarter of the 2018/19 academic year, an increase of just over 15 per cent when compared with the first quarter of 2017/18. We would be hesitant to say at this point whether this increase is a sign of the levy bedding in, as it is still clear from various reports and surveys - including ‘Flex for Success’ released by City & Guilds and the ILM recently - that many employers are facing significant challenges navigating the levy and utilising funds to ensure every penny is spent in the right place.
It will be interesting to see as the year pans out how the figures stack up and whether the increase is a sign of things to come. But if we are to achieve that, clearer guidance around the levy has to be provided to employers and a date needs to be set for changes to the levy set out by the chancellor in last year’s budget as businesses are still left in limbo.
We also must do more to promote apprenticeships to young people of all social-economic backgrounds in the UK. The recent launch of the ‘Fire it up’ campaign by the Department for Education will hopefully help towards that goal and I think we all need to work together to make apprenticeships a viable option to more young people. That includes the government, schools, businesses, training providers and organisations.
As an ‘Outstanding’ graded national training provider, BB Training delivers apprenticeships, Learning & Development courses and CPD qualifications to the early years, adult social care and clinical care sectors. We work closely with employers to design training that reflects the needs of their business and is built around the strengths, weaknesses and traits of each individual learner so they can get the most from their training.
Employers stated in the recent report ‘Flex for Success’ from City & Guilds that one of the key barriers to them not utlising their levy funds and investing in training was that training providers did not understand their business or their needs.
We know as a training provider that flexible delivery works, and we have seen the success of businesses who have invested in training using their levy funds and taken advantage of our tailored learning.