There were 26,090 apprenticeship starts reported between 23 March and 31 May 2020, fewer than the 50,050 reported for this period at this point last year, a decrease of 47.9%. Intermediate apprenticeships (L2) accounted for 26.9 per cent of starts; this was 37.1 per cent in 2018/19. Vacancies also slumped with the numbers for April and May 2020 (the first two full months for which data are available since the coronavirus restrictions were implemented on 23 March) being 2,020 and 1,850, which compares to 10,400 and 12,580 in April and May 2019 respectively. Apprentice starts for 16 to 18 year olds were just 2,020 (7.7 per cent) of the total 26,090 starts.
Association of Employment and Learning Providers chief executive Mark Dawe said: “With youth unemployment having doubled, we need an urgent policy response that protects both existing apprentices coming off furlough and stimulates new apprenticeship opportunities for other young people while also providing an option for unemployed adults. The Department for Education should finally recognise too that both levy and non-levy apprenticeships need to be protected by its provider relief scheme. Apprenticeships are jobs and most observers agree that a significant wage subsidy is required to encourage employers, especially SMEs, to offer new opportunities. AELP’s recommended injection of £5.1bn into apprenticeships, including the cost of the subsidy, is a relatively modest investment for the Treasury when the benefits are considered against the current £30bn cost of the government’s coronavirus job support schemes.” Link to data: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/894893/2020-march_apprenticeships-and-traineeships-commentary_june-update_pdfa.pdf