‘Pitiful’ figures cast doubt over apprenticeship target

The TES is reporting warnings from the shadow FE and skills minister that the government’s ambitious plans to expand the apprenticeship programme could be thwarted by the “pitiful” take-up of traineeships.

Traineeships were introduced in 2013 to equip young people with the skills required to progress into an apprenticeship or employment. However, recent statistics from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) suggest that the government has found it difficult to grow the programme. The number of traineeship starts in 2014-15 was 19,400, compared with 499,900 apprenticeship starts in the same period.

And new figures reveal that the number of traineeship vacancies advertised on the official apprenticeships website has dropped by 9 per cent, from 2,300 between August and October 2014 to 2,100 in the same period 12 months on. In contrast, the number of traineeship applicants actually rose in 2015-2016.

Last week, the government announced new measures to allow more providers to offer traineeships, which it claimed had made an “excellent start”.

Previously, only providers rated good or outstanding by Ofsted were eligible, but that restriction will be removed in August 2016. A new campaign to promote traineeships and apprenticeships were also unveiled. But Labour’s shadow skills minister Gordon Marsden told TES that a lack of awareness about traineeships was a major factor behind the low number of learners on the scheme.

“They were not well understood so take-up has been rather pitiful,” he said. “I am not surprised at the figures because how they introduced it was completely cock-eyed…

More (including a response from BIS) at: ‘Pitiful’ figures cast doubt over apprenticeship target


Read or download the Government’s apprenticeship strategy (published last week):



Are you clear on the role of traineeships or even aware of their existence?

More broadly, do you share concerns about the way the government’s vision for apprenticeships is being executed or do you see progress being made?

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Categories: Employment, Further Education and Policy.


  1. Some good news – the Gov’t  says it’s bringing in a law to protect the term ‘apprenticeship’ from misuse by
    training providers.  That should stop firms like Next and Priory (the care home provider) from offering poor-quality training.  Both their training schemes were judged Inadequate by Ofsted.  And Wilshaw recently said some apprenticeships were little more than floor mopping.

  2. Nor_edu

    SchoolsImprove traineeships are totally misunderstood. Another example why totally impartial and independent #careers advice is essential!

  3. Nor_edu SchoolsImprove The Ed Select Committee has launched an inquiry into careers advice, information and guidance.  Consultation finishes on 23 Jan. http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/education-skills-and-economy/news-parliament-2015/career-advice-evidence-15-16/

  4. Following good news (see below), here’s some bad news:
    ‘Schools will be held to account for what
    their pupils do next, including where they
    go onto an apprenticeship.’

    Schools should not be held accountable for what are the personal choices of pupils.  Schools’ responsibility is to provide good quality careers education and guidance – that’s woeful at the moment.  Concentrate on that before bringing in more accountability measures.

  5. The Careers and Enterprise Company’s band of volunteers from business is an inadequate response to raising quality of careers education and guidance.  What’s needed are properly-trained, career professionals working alongside properly-trained career teachers.  Sending volunteers into schools is a poor substitute.

  6. Funny – Sir Michael Wilshaw’s comments re poor quality apprenticeships made in October don’t seem to feature in this recently published Gov’t report.  http://www.theguardian.com/education/2015/oct/22/apprenticeships-poor-quality-ofsted-chief

Let us know what you think...