This Library Note provides statistical information on apprenticeships, based on the most recent figures published by the Skills Funding Agency (SFA). It then focusses on four key areas of recent government policy development in relation to apprenticeships: the announcement of a government target of three million new apprenticeships by the end of March 2020; the development of new apprenticeship standards
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The Government has made clear its commitment to increasing the quality and number of apprenticeships over this Parliament; in principle, its commitment has been welcomed by politicians and stakeholders alike. However, concern has been expressed by some regarding a potential risk of too much emphasis being placed on targets.
On 27 May 2015, the Prime Minister, David Cameron, commented that, “the first priority of the Queen’s Speech is to help working people, and we are clear about what that means—more jobs, more apprenticeships […]. The last Parliament saw more than 2.2 million new apprenticeships start, and the Queen’s Speech will help to create 3 million more”. With a pledge to create three million new apprenticeships by the end of March 2020, numerous questions have been raised of the Government which include:
- Are apprenticeships are being developed with a good spread across employers, levels and sectors?
- Is apprenticeship quality simultaneously being improved as numbers increase?
- Who it is that should be undertaking apprenticeships?