This target was first set back in 2015 as part of the “English Apprenticeships: Our 2020 vision” plan.
In January 2017, the previous government said it was on track to reach its target of three million apprenticeship starts by 2020. However, since the introduction of the “apprenticeship levy” in April 2017 – a tax on large employers to help fund people training at work – the number of apprenticeship starts has declined.
Figures released by the Department for Education in May 2018 show that between August 2017 and February 2018 there were 232,700 starts, compared with 309,000 for the same period twelve months earlier, which is a fall of roughly 25%. The Department for Education (DfE)said in their May 2018 apprenticeship statistics publication that the changes to the way apprenticeships were funded through the levy were “likely to have impacted on starts”, but that levy payers were planning to increase their number of apprentices in future.
“375,800 apprenticeship starts reported for the 2017/18 academic year, compared with 494,900 in 2016/17 and 509,400 in 2015/16.”
For now, we’ve classified this manifesto pledge as ‘in progress’, as the government has not abandoned its 3 million target and is implementing changes, such as the apprenticeship levy, to try to reach it. We’ll have to wait and see if the target can be met by 2020. Follow this policy for the latest developments.