Apprenticeship system 'struggling' to cope, report finds

Research has found 11 applicants for every apprenticeship vacancy. Credit: Jan Haas / DPA/PA Images

The apprenticeship system is "struggling" to cope with demand as figures suggest there are around 11 applicants for every vacancy, according to a new report by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR).

The research also found two in five apprentices starting since 2010 were over 25.

In total, there were 1.8 million applicants for 166,000 advertised vacancies last year, while 67% of higher level apprenticeships were given to people already employed.

The Local Government Association (LGA), which commissioned the research, said it indicated the system was being used to train older workers and young people were missing out.

At present, too many new apprenticeships are low skilled and taken by older people already in work with their employer.

Too few new apprentices are school-leavers trying to get their first job, and too few are getting the construction skills to build the homes and roads our local communities need.

With the greatest will, government alone cannot engage over two million employers from Whitehall.

Rather than spend more money on a struggling system, this research underlines the need for devolved training that enables partnerships of councils, schools, colleges and employers to both boost opportunities locally and to ensure youngsters get the skills, experience and advice to thrive.

– Cllr Peter Box, economy spokesman for the LGA