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Apprenticeship statistics for England

Published Friday, January 4, 2019

This note presents and analyses data on the number of people starting apprenticeships in England and statistics for Parliamentary Constituencies in England from 1996 to 2016.

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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 data on apprenticeship starts are available in the Constituency Apprenticeship Statistics spreadsheet accompanying this Briefing Paper.

Unless stated otherwise data in this paper are from the FE Data Library.

Headline figures for apprenticeship starts in the 2017/18 academic year are included in this note.

Between August 2017 and July 2018 (the 2017/18 academic year), there were 369,700 apprenticeship starts in England, 125,200 fewer than in 2016/17.

Apprenticeship starts in 2016/17

In 2016/17, there were 491,300 apprenticeship starts in England, 18,100 less than the previous year.

There was a large reduction in the number of starts in the final quarter of 2016/17, following funding changes and the introduction of the apprenticeship levy in May 2017. Starts by apprentices aged 25 and over were particularly affected.

Starts by age

People aged 25 and over accounted for 46% of apprenticeship starts in 2016/17. People aged 19-24 accounted for 29% and those aged under 19 accounted for 25%.

The number of starts for those aged between 19 and 24 fell to its lowest level since 2009/10.


In 2016/17 53% of apprenticeship starts were at intermediate level, 40% were at advanced level and the remaining 7% were at higher level.

The number of higher level starts has almost doubled in the last two years.

Sector and framework

As in previous years, the majority of apprenticeship starts were in the service sectors. 86% of all starts were in four subject areas: Health, Public Services and Care; Business, Administration and Law; Retail & Commercial Enterprise; and Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies.


In 2016/17, 54% of apprenticeships starts were by women and 46% by men. The number of women starting apprenticeship in England has been higher than men for every year since 2010/11.

Participation and achievements

912,200 people were participating in an apprenticeship in 2016/17, 12,800 more than in the year before.

271,700 people successfully completed an apprenticeships in 2015/16, up 10,800 on the previous year.

Policy Developments

In May 2017 the apprenticeship funding system was revised, and the apprenticeship levy was introduced. A list of significant policy developments since “Modern Apprenticeships” were introduced in 1994 is provided in section 5 of this paper.


Commons Briefing papers SN06113

Authors: Andy Powell; Olivia Phelan

Topics: Employment schemes, Training

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