According to UK government statistics published in March 2023, apprenticeship achievements were up 21.8% for the first two quarters of the 2022/23 academic year (August 2022 to January 2023), compared with the same period in the previous year.
In this article we explore possible reasons for the increase and look at why we should be cautious about the numbers.
The increase in apprenticeship achievements reported via training provider data returns (Individualised Learner Records – ILR) for the first two quarters of the 2022/23 academic year compared to the previous year are undoubtedly positive. But the results are perhaps not surprising when we look at the likely reasons for the increase in numbers:
Delayed Completions: The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on apprenticeship completions and caused delays in many cases. It would be interesting to understand just how many of the 2022/23 completions are simply delayed completions as a result of disruptions to workplace training caused by the pandemic.
Recovery from the Pandemic: As the COVID-19 pandemic recedes and economic conditions improve, industries have regained stability and confidence in investing in apprenticeships. This recovery phase could lead to an increase in available apprenticeship opportunities and subsequently higher achievement rates, so we it’s possible rates could climb even higher.
Government Initiatives and Funding: The UK government has been actively promoting apprenticeships as a valuable pathway for skills development. They have implemented various initiatives, such as increased funding, incentives for employers, and reforms in apprenticeship programs. These efforts incentivised both employers and individuals to engage in apprenticeships, resulting in higher achievement numbers.
Employer Engagement: Employers play a crucial role in providing apprenticeship opportunities. The growth in apprenticeship achievements may indicate a greater level of employer engagement and commitment to training the future workforce. Employers recognising the value of apprenticeships and actively participating in apprenticeship programs have contributed to the increase in achievements.
Increased Awareness and Promotion: Awareness campaigns and promotional activities have raised awareness about the benefits of apprenticeships. Increased visibility and understanding of apprenticeships has meant more individuals are pursuing this career pathway, leading to higher achievement rates.
Enhanced Support and Guidance: Improved support structures, guidance programs, and better mentorship is having a positive impact on apprenticeship success. By providing apprentices with the necessary resources and guidance, their chances of achieving apprenticeship goals are significantly increased.
Overall, the increase in apprenticeship achievements reflects various factors, including delayed completions, recovery from the pandemic, government initiatives, employer engagement, increased awareness, and enhanced support and guidance programs. However, it is crucial to exercise caution when interpreting the data and consider potential fluctuations or revisions that may occur as the academic year progresses.