Apprenticeship starts rose across all regions of the country and at all levels, with particularly strong growth at advanced and higher levels.
The data also showed higher levels of learners on Skills for Life courses to improve their basic skills, with 1,374,200 participating during the first three quarters of the 2011/12 academic year.
Skills Minister John Hayes said:
“The growth in apprenticeships is really welcome news. The Government has put apprenticeships at the heart of our skills policy because they equip people with the skills they need for a prosperous future and provide businesses with the expertise they need to grow.
“As we look to rebalance our economy, it is particularly encouraging to see an increase in the number of apprentices in the engineering and manufacturing sector.
“At the same time as increasing the number of apprenticeships, I have been relentless in my commitment to quality – striving to ensure that every apprenticeship is as good as the best.”
Notes to editors:
1. The full statistical first release can be viewed at http://www.thedataservice.org.uk/statistics/statisticalfirstrelease/sfr_current.
2. The Government's economic policy objective is to achieve 'strong, sustainable and balanced growth that is more evenly shared across the country and between industries.' It set four ambitions in the ‘Plan for Growth’, published at Budget 2011:
- To create the most competitive tax system in the G20
- To make the UK the best place in Europe to start, finance and grow a business
- To encourage investment and exports as a route to a more balanced economy
- To create a more educated workforce that is the most flexible in Europe.
Work is underway across Government to achieve these ambitions, including progress on more than 250 measures as part of the Growth Review. Developing an industrial strategy gives new impetus to this work by providing businesses, investors and the public with more clarity about the long-term direction in which the Government wants the economy to travel.
3. BIS's online newsroom contains the latest press notices, speeches, as well as video and images for download. It also features an up to date list of BIS press office contacts. See http://www.bis.gov.uk/newsroom for more information.