The latest monthly apprenticeship start numbers for March 2018 (23,900) have been published today showing a 52% fall in total starts in comparison with March last year. Starts for the year 2017-18 so far are down 28% on a year ago.

Based on the latest quarterly total for January-March 2018 of 76,500 starts, AELP now estimates that 206,000 starts per quarter are now needed until the end of March 2020 in order for the government to achieve its 3 million starts manifesto commitment.

AELP CEO Mark Dawe comments:

‘AELP strongly supports the levy and we understand why the skills minister sent out a joint letter with employer supporters to the press this week in defence of it. But we hope that when she addresses the AELP conference in a few days’ time, she will signal a suspension of charging SMEs for apprenticeships for 16-24 year olds at levels 2 and 3. With the government showing no intention of abandoning its 3 million target, start numbers are now so far behind the curve, action has to be take now to reverse the falls. They are damaging to productivity, social mobility and the labour market response to Brexit.’

Skills minister Anne Milton will be addressing the AELP National Conference, sponsored by NCFE, on the morning of Monday, 25 June. British Airways, IBM, Grant Thornton and Aktrion Group as levy payers and AELP members will be offering their views on 26 June – see http://www.aelpnationalconference.org.uk/ehome/index.php?eventid=323637&

Link to DfE official apprenticeship data: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/apprenticeship-and-levy-statistics-june-2018

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