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Apprenticeships are a devolved area. This Briefing Paper covers apprenticeship policies introduced in England between May 2010 and May 2015. Sources of where to find information on apprenticeships in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are included in the Briefing Paper Apprenticeships Policy, England.


Throughout the 2010-15 Parliament the Government made commitments to increase both the number of apprenticeships and their quality.

There was a large increase in the number of people starting apprenticeships over the Parliament. Between 2009/10 and 2013/14 the number of people starting an apprenticeship aged under 19 increased by 3,000 (3%), the number aged 19-24 increased by 45,300 (40%) and the number aged 25 and over increased by 112,500 (229%).

Improving quality

Early in the 2010-15 Parliament the Higher Apprenticeship Fund was created to fund 20,000 Higher Apprenticeships. Extra money was also made available in the 2013 Autumn Statement for a further 20,000 Higher Apprenticeships.

As part of the Government’s aim to improve the standards of apprenticeships, The Statement on Apprenticeship Quality was published in May 2012. The statement summarised which aspects of apprenticeships would be subject to minimum standards.

Increasing participation

The Education Act 2011 replaced a previous duty to provide apprenticeship places to all qualified 16-19 year olds, with one to “make reasonable efforts to ensure employers participate in Apprenticeship training”.

The Government introduced Access to Apprenticeships and then later Traineeships to help targeted groups of young people into apprenticeships.

The Apprenticeship Grant for Employers of 16-24 year olds (a grant of £1,500) was introduced in February 2015 to encourage small businesses to hire apprentices aged 16-24.

The Richard Review of Apprenticeships in England

The 2012 Richard Review of Apprenticeships made a number of recommendations which have been taken forward by Government. As a result of the review, new employer led apprenticeship standards and a new funding model are being developed.

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