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Apprentices: Ethnic Groups

Question for Department for Education

UIN HL12390, tabled on 20 January 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to provide practical support for employers to ensure racial and ethnic diversity amongst their Higher Level apprentices.

Answered on

3 February 2021

Apprenticeships benefit people of all ages and backgrounds, and we want to ensure that more people from underrepresented backgrounds can undertake them, particularly those that offer higher wage returns and progression opportunities. We are pleased to have seen positive outcomes in the representation of people from a BAME (Black, Asian and minority ethnic) background in apprenticeships, with a particular increase in the proportion of higher-level apprenticeship starts. In the 2019/20 academic year, 15.5% of higher apprenticeship starts were by those from BAME backgrounds, compared to 12.1% in the 2014/15 academic year.

We have worked with some of the country’s most influential employers through our Apprenticeship Diversity Champions Network to promote best practice in recruiting and supporting apprentices from diverse backgrounds. We are building on this work to ensure that we continue to see improved representation of BAME people starting apprenticeships, especially in sectors that carry historic under-representation. We will work closely with these sectors to understand why this is the case, and to co-develop targeted solutions. We will also be working extensively with employers, with a particular focus on SMEs, to understand what barriers they face in taking on apprentices and how they can support apprentices from different backgrounds.