Following the publication of the latest annual apprenticeship data, Dr Lisa Morrison Coulthard, NFER’s Research Director on education to employment and social mobility, said:
“The continued decline in apprenticeship starts amongst young people and people from disadvantaged backgrounds of all ages is a concerning indicator that barriers, including low wages and minimum grade entry requirements, persist.
“The introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy in 2017 sought to promote apprenticeships as a pathway into employment via sustainable funding. The new data shows that by 2022/23 around two-thirds of all apprenticeship starts were levy funded, increasing to four in five Higher Apprenticeship starts.
“However, with fewer disadvantaged and younger learners accessing this levy, they are potentially missing out on the benefits offered by this funding.
“The Government should commission a review of the long-term decline in 16-19-year-old apprenticeship starts, and the sustained under-representation of apprenticeship starts from disadvantaged young people. In particular, the Apprenticeship Levy should be redesigned to ringfence funding for 16–18-year-old apprentices.”