This was almost 370,000 more than three years ago, according to statistics released by the Skills Funding Agency. The number of participants in higher apprenticeships also increased by 50,000 this year.
Since 2010, over 1.5 million people have signed up for an apprenticeship place. However there was a slight drop in the number of apprenticeship starts in 2012/13 at 495,100, compared to 520,600 in 2011/12.
Apprenticeship participation among the under-19 age group also saw a decrease, which the government attributed to a “renewed focus on higher quality”.
As all apprenticeships now involve a job, it has meant the end of programme-led apprenticeships which were particularly targeted at 16- to 18-year-olds, said the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
It added that the stipulation that all apprenticeships must now last for a minimum of one year had also affected the number of new starters over the past 12 months.
But skills minister Matthew Hancock hailed today’s figures, which showed a record number of apprentices overall.
“This is good news for the economy, and good news for those getting the skills they need to prosper,” said Hoban. “There are now more options than ever before with a focus on the quality and rigour that people and employers want from apprenticeships.”
He added: “Our insistence that they must have a minimum duration, involve on-the-job training, and respond to the needs of employers means that it is rapidly becoming the new norm to take an apprenticeship or go to university.”
The UK’s apprenticeship system is in line for further reform, and a consultation on how the funding in this area should be delivered closed on 1 October. One of the proposals put forward by the government was channelling funding directly to employers rather than training providers.
Article first published on cipd.co.uk