Apprentice numbers rise in the UK
The Government delivered an extra 100,000 adult apprenticeships within its first year, double its original target, figures showed.
However, provisional statistics for 2010-11 revealed around one in four apprentices still dropped out, suggesting the Government has “a long way to go” to make the scheme a viable alternative to degrees.
Between April 2010 and March 2011, an extra 103,000 people aged 19 or over started an apprenticeship compared to the previous year, reaching 257,000 schemes in total, according to The Data Service.
But initial data suggested little progress had been made in keeping people in schemes, with the number of completed apprenticeships on track to fall by almost 5pc year-on-year.
Adam Marshall, of the British Chambers of Commerce, said employers were wary about taking on apprentices only for them to pull out.
He said: “We’ve still got a long way to go to build an apprenticeship system that is as good as our competitors internationally. We need more promotion, more attention from policy-makers and more funding to make them a viable alternative to university.”
John Hayes, skills minister, said he understood employer concerns and was looking at introducing a “modular system” next year to help people fit study around their personal lives.
He added the figures showed the “biggest growth in apprenticeships in history”.