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January 2024 update: this landing page and the attached constituency statistics have been updated to provide data for the latest full academic year (2022/23). The briefing paper will be updated in due course.

Skills and training are devolved policy areas. This Briefing Paper covers apprenticeships in England. Sources of information on apprenticeships in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are included in the Commons Briefing Paper, Apprenticeships Policy in England.

Constituency and local authority data on apprenticeship starts are available in the spreadsheet accompanying this Briefing Paper.

The table below provides the number of apprenticeship starts in England by age and level from the 2015/16 academic year to the 2022/23 academic year:

Apprenticeship starts in 2022/23

In the 2022/23 academic year, there were 752,150 people participating in an apprenticeship in England, with 337,140 apprenticeship starts and 162,320 apprenticeship achievements.

The number of starts fell in 2022/23 by 12,100, or 3%, from the number of starts in the previous academic year.

There was a large fall in starts in 2017/18 following the introduction of the apprenticeship levy, and further falls in 2019/20 and 2020/21 due to the coronavirus pandemic. There were 157,800 fewer starts in 2022/23 than in 2016/17.

Starts by age

48% of the apprenticeships started in 2022/23 were by people aged 25 and over, while 23% were aged under 19 and 29% were aged between 19 and 24. There was a small increase in starts for the under 19 age groups in comparison to the previous year, but a fall in starts for both the 19 to 24 and 25 and over age groups.

All age groups had a lower number of starts in 2022/23 then in 2016/17. The age group with the largest actual fall in starts was the 25 or over age group with a fall of almost 70,000. However, the under 19 age group had the largest percentage decrease, with a 37% fall in the number of starts.

The age profile of people starting apprenticeships has changed in recent years, with the proportion of starts by apprentices over the age of 24 generally increasing year on year. Over half the starts in 2020/21 were by apprentices aged 25 or over, although this has fallen back below 50% in the following years.

Starts by level

Over three quarters of apprenticeships started in 2022/23 were at advanced or higher level, with 44% of starts at advanced level and 33% at higher level. The remaining 23% were at intermediate level.

The number of starts at higher level increased in 2022/23 in comparison to the previous year, but there was a fall in the number of starts at intermediate and advanced level.

This continued the trend of recent years. There has been a large drop in the number of apprenticeship starts at intermediate level, and a large increase in the number of starts at higher level. In 2014/15, 60% of starts were at intermediate level and only 4% were at higher level.

Policy Developments

In May 2017 the apprenticeship funding system was revised, and the apprenticeship levy was introduced. A summary of significant policy developments is provided in section 5 of this paper.

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