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Apprenticeship statistics for England: 1996-2015

Published Tuesday, January 5, 2016

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 2015.

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This Commons Library Briefing Paper presents and analyses recent statistics on apprenticeship starts, participation and achievement in England.

Apprenticeships are paid jobs that incorporate on and off the job training. A successful apprentice will qualify with a nationally recognised qualification on completion (‘achievement’) of their contract.

Revised data for the full 2014/15 year were released in December 2015. The key points and changes to previous trends are summarised below. Data from 2011/12 onwards is not directly comparable to earlier years. All numbers are rounded up to the nearest hundred or ten.

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

Apprenticeship starts in 2014/15

In 2014/15, there were 499,900 apprenticeship starts in England, 59,500 (14%) more than the previous year. It was the first year since 2011/12 in which apprenticeship numbers increased.


The number of people who were on an apprenticeship in a given year (‘participation’) increased between 2013/14 and 2014/15 by 2% (20,300) to 871,800 apprentices.


Achievements increased by 1% (2,900) over the same period to 255,800 achievements.

Starts by age

After a fall in 2013/14, the number of apprenticeship starts by people aged 25 and over remained higher than any other age category with 214,000 starts in 2014/15.

Overall, between 2013/14 and 2014/15, the number of apprenticeship starts increased across all age groups except for people aged under 16. Their number fell by 20% with 40 fewer starts in 2014/15 compared to the previous year. The biggest increase (38%) was among those aged 60 and over.

Sector and framework

As in previous years, the majority of apprenticeships were in the service sectors. Almost three quarters (73%) of all starts were concentrated in three sectors: Business, Administration & Law; Health, Public Services & Care and Retail & Commercial Enterprise.

The most popular sector was Business, Administration and Law, accounting for 29% of all apprenticeship starts in England, closely followed by Health, Public Services & Care (26%).


The highest number of apprenticeship starts was for Intermediate apprenticeships (Level 2) with 298,300 starts, followed by 181,800 Advanced (Level 3) and 19,800 Higher (Level 4 and above) apprenticeships. Higher apprenticeships represented only 4% of all starts, as opposed to 60% for Intermediate apprenticeships.


In 2014/15, 53% of apprenticeships starts were by women (264,800) and 47% by men (235,100).


The constituency of Richmond (Yorks) had the highest number of apprenticeship starts in 2014/15 (6,660), while Chelsea and Fulham had the lowest (190).

Commons Briefing papers SN06113

Author: Jeanne Delebarre

Topics: Employment schemes, Training

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