Apprenticeship starts

The main facts and figures show that:

  • between 2002/03 and 2016/17, the percentage of people from the Asian, Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups combined starting an apprenticeship increased from 5.3% to 11.2%

  • there were 6 times as many apprenticeship starts among people from the Asian, Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups in 2016/17 as there were in 2002/03, increasing from 8,900 to 55,300

  • total apprenticeship starts increased by nearly tripled over the same period, from 167,700 to 494,900

  • in 2016/17, 87.7% of people starting an apprenticeship were White, while people from White ethnic groups made up 84.8% of the general population of England

Things you need to know

The way data was collected changed in 2011, which means that data from 2002/03 to 2010/11 isn't directly comparable with the data from 2011/12 to 2016/17.

Before 2011/12, there was a separate data collection for each of the different further education funding models. Some apprentices at the same training provider may have been included in more than one data collection, if they were funded under more than one model during an academic year. This means they will have been counted more than once in the official statistics.

In 2011/12, a single collection for all funding models was introduced. This means that the total number of apprentices is now counted from a single collection and apprentices at each training provider will no longer be counted twice.

This methodology change also means that apprenticeship start numbers are overrepresented by an estimated 1 to 2% for reporting periods from 2002/03 to 2010/11.

What the data measures

This data for ‘apprenticeship starts’ measures the number of people who have a start date for an apprenticeship programme or learning aim. Each reporting period covers an academic year, which runs from 1 August to 31 July.

An apprentice starting more than one apprenticeship will be counted separately for each programme. For example, an apprentice starting an intermediate level apprenticeship, and then starting or transferring to an advanced level apprenticeship, will be counted as 2 starts. This can be within one academic year or across multiple academic years.

The data only includes people funded by government.

To provide additional context, the percentage of people on apprenticeships by ethnic group has been compared to 2016 population estimates published by the Office for National Statistics.

The ethnic categories used in this data

Data from 2011/12 onwards has been classified using the 5 standardised ethnic groups based on the 2011 Census.

The 5 categories used are:

  • Asian/Asian British
  • Black/African/Caribbean/Black British
  • Mixed/Multiple ethnic groups
  • White
  • Other ethnic group

Ethnic groups and how data on ethnicity is collected

Number of apprenticeship starts by ethnicity over time

Number of apprenticeship starts by ethnicity

Year All Asian Black Mixed White Other Unknown
Starts Starts Starts Starts Starts Starts Starts
2002/03 167,690 3,510 2,560 1,770 157,270 1,060 1,520
2003/04 193,560 4,210 2,820 2,260 182,140 670 1,460
2004/05 189,030 4,660 2,920 2,460 176,450 820 1,720
2005/06 174,970 4,100 2,350 2,310 164,120 750 1,340
2006/07 184,430 4,680 2,430 2,660 172,470 750 1,440
2007/08 224,770 6,500 3,600 3,150 208,230 1,000 2,290
2008/09 239,960 9,450 5,110 3,840 217,890 1,220 2,450
2009/10 279,670 9,390 6,390 5,020 254,780 1,430 2,660
2010/11 457,210 19,270 14,610 8,290 407,050 3,440 4,550
2011/12 520,580 20,720 17,350 9,850 464,960 3,430 4,270
2012/13 510,220 19,690 16,590 10,110 455,440 3,380 5,010
2013/14 440,420 18,600 13,650 9,470 391,480 3,110 4,110
2014/15 499,910 21,510 17,250 10,930 442,340 3,500 4,380
2015/16 509,370 21,380 17,500 11,100 448,830 3,500 7,060
2016/17 494,900 22,000 18,100 11,000 434,200 4,200 5,400

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

  • in 2016/17, the number of apprenticeship starts associated with Black apprentices was 7 times as many as in 2002/03, increasing from 2,560 to 18,100

  • in 2016/17, the number of apprenticeship starts associated with Asian apprentices and those with Mixed ethnicity was 6 times as many as in 2002/03, increasing from 3,510 to 22,000 and from 1,770 to 11,000 respectively

  • the number of apprenticeship starts associated with White apprentices nearly tripled, from 157,270 to 434,200

Percentage of apprenticeship starts by ethnicity over time

Percentage of apprenticeship starts by ethnicity over time

Year Asian Black Mixed White Other Unknown
% % % % % %
2002/03 2.1 1.5 1.1 93.8 0.6 0.9
2003/04 2.2 1.5 1.2 94.1 0.3 0.8
2004/05 2.5 1.5 1.3 93.4 0.4 0.9
2005/06 2.3 1.3 1.3 93.8 0.4 0.8
2006/07 2.5 1.3 1.4 93.5 0.4 0.8
2007/08 2.9 1.6 1.4 92.6 0.4 1.0
2008/09 3.9 2.1 1.6 90.8 0.5 1.0
2009/10 3.4 2.3 1.8 91.1 0.5 1.0
2010/11 4.2 3.2 1.8 89.0 0.8 1.0
2011/12 4.0 3.3 1.9 89.3 0.7 0.8
2012/13 3.9 3.3 2.0 89.3 0.7 1.0
2013/14 4.2 3.1 2.2 88.9 0.7 0.9
2014/15 4.3 3.5 2.2 88.5 0.7 0.9
2015/16 4.2 3.4 2.2 88.1 0.7 1.4
2016/17 4.4 3.7 2.2 87.7 0.8 1.1

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

  • between 2002/03 and 2016/17, the percentage of apprenticeship starts associated with White apprentices decreased from 93.8% to 87.7% – this is broadly in line with population changes over the same period

  • excluding the White ethnic group, the highest percentage of apprenticeship starts were associated with people from an Asian background – this reached its highest point in 2016/17 at 4.4%

Percentage of apprenticeship starts, compared with the overall population by ethnicity

Percentage of apprenticeship starts by ethnicity, compared with the overall population by ethnicity

Ethnicity Apprentices Population (2016 estimate)
% %
Asian 4.4 8.0
Black 3.7 3.6
Mixed 2.2 2.6
White 87.7 84.8
Other 0.8 1.1

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

  • in 2016/17, 87.7% of apprenticeship starts were associated with apprentices from a White background, while White people made up 84.8% of the overall population

  • 4.4% of apprenticeship starts were associated with apprentices from an Asian background, while Asian people made up 8.0% of the overall population

Methodology

Methodology

This data is based on the apprentice’s individualised learner record (ILR), which is submitted by further education (FE) providers to the ESFA.

The ILR uses administrative data collected about learners by FE providers.

Data about apprentices’ demographics and the type of learning they're doing is used by ESFA to allocate funding. Ethnicity data is completed by the apprentice, and no adjustments are made by the learning provider. Data on apprentices that forms part of the Employer Ownership Pilot (EOP) is gathered from employers in the same format as the ILR and included in the ILR dataset.

Suppression rules and disclosure control

Participant numbers have been rounded to the nearest 10 to avoid identification of individuals.

Numbers less than 5 have been suppressed.

Rounding

Participant numbers are rounded to the nearest 10 except in 2016/17 where numbers have been rounded to the nearest 100

Quality and methodology information

Further technical information

All providers must send records for learners financed by Advanced Learner Loans. Training organisations are asked to send details of apprenticeships that are not funded by the ESFA where they are delivered within the terms of a ESFA contract.

For higher and degree level apprenticeships, higher education institutions must send an ILR return for all apprenticeship standards and for 16-18 apprenticeship frameworks.

Read more about the individual learning record (ILR).

Data sources

Source

Type of data

Administrative data

Type of statistic

National Statistics

Publisher

Education and Skills Funding Agency

Publication frequency

Yearly

Purpose of data source

Data about learners' demographics and their type of learning (including apprenticeships and apprenticeship aims) is used by Education and Skills Funding Agency to allocate funding for further education.

Download the data

Apprenticeship starts - Spreadsheet (csv) 17 KB

This file contains the following: ethnicity, year, value, numerator and denominator