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Apprentices: Coronavirus

Question for Department for Education

UIN 105391, tabled on 19 October 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the number of apprenticeship starts, by sector; and what steps his Department is taking to increase the number of apprenticeships starts.

Answered on

22 October 2020

There have been 58,160 apprenticeship starts reported to date between 23 March to 31 July 2020. A breakdown of apprenticeship starts by sector subject area in this period can be found in the Apprenticeships and traineeships: October 2020 statistics publication, which is available here: We advise against making comparisons with previous years due to the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak from March onward. The outbreak has affected provider behaviour in terms of the reporting of further education and apprenticeship learning during the affected period.

Apprenticeships will be more important than ever in helping businesses to recruit the right people and develop the skills they need to recover and grow. To help support employers to offer new apprenticeships, employers are now able to claim £2,000 for every new apprentice they hire under the age of 25, and £1,500 for those aged 25 and over until 31 January 2021. The new payment means it’s a great time for employers to offer new apprenticeship opportunities and take advantage of existing flexibilities to train their apprentices in a way that suits their needs.

We also want to ensure we grow the number of small and medium-sized enterprises offering apprenticeships, supported by funding, given that they are vital to the UK economy. We will continue to work with smaller employers to give them the confidence and support to take on new apprentices.

To expand apprenticeship opportunities further we are working with employers to make apprenticeships work better for different sectors, including those with more flexible and short-term models of employment. We will also work with employers to improve the transfer process, making it easier for them to find smaller employers to transfer levy funds to, and to enable successful Kickstart placements to turn into apprenticeships where that is the right thing for the employer and the young person.

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