1. Main facts and figures

  • between 2002/03 and 2017/18, the percentage of people starting an apprenticeship from the Asian, Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups combined increased from 5.3% to 11.2%
  • over 4 times as many apprenticeships were started by people from the Asian, Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups in 2017/18 than in 2002/03, increasing from 8,900 to 42,230
  • the total number of apprenticeships started more than doubled over the same period, from 167,700 to 375,800
  • in 2017/18, 87.2% of people starting an apprenticeship were White, while people from White ethnic groups made up 84.6% of the general population of England (according to 2017 population estimates from the Office for National Statistics)
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 data from 2011/12 to 2017/18.

Before 2011/12, some apprentices at the same training provider may have been counted more than once in official statistics. This is because some apprentices were funded by more than one source (or funding model) and, at the time, data was collected separately for each funding model.

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 change 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 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 2017 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

2. By ethnicity over time

Percentage and number of apprenticeship starts by ethnicity over time
Asian Black Mixed White Other Unknown
Time % Participants % Participants % Participants % Participants % Participants % Participants
2002/03 2.1 3,510 1.5 2,560 1.1 1,770 93.8 157,270 0.6 1,060 0.9 1,520
2003/04 2.2 4,210 1.5 2,820 1.2 2,260 94.1 182,140 0.3 670 0.8 1,460
2004/05 2.5 4,660 1.5 2,920 1.3 2,460 93.4 176,450 0.4 820 0.9 1,720
2005/06 2.3 4,100 1.3 2,350 1.3 2,310 93.8 164,120 0.4 750 0.8 1,340
2006/07 2.5 4,680 1.3 2,430 1.4 2,660 93.5 172,470 0.4 750 0.8 1,440
2007/08 2.9 6,500 1.6 3,600 1.4 3,150 92.6 208,230 0.4 1,000 1.0 2,290
2008/09 3.9 9,450 2.1 5,110 1.6 3,840 90.8 217,890 0.5 1,220 1.0 2,450
2009/10 3.4 9,390 2.3 6,390 1.8 5,020 91.1 254,780 0.5 1,430 1.0 2,660
2010/11 4.2 19,270 3.2 14,610 1.8 8,290 89.0 407,050 0.8 3,440 1.0 4,550
2011/12 4.0 20,720 3.3 17,350 1.9 9,850 89.3 464,960 0.7 3,430 0.8 4,270
2012/13 3.9 19,690 3.3 16,590 2.0 10,110 89.3 455,440 0.7 3,380 1.0 5,010
2013/14 4.2 18,600 3.1 13,650 2.2 9,470 88.9 391,480 0.7 3,110 0.9 4,110
2014/15 4.3 21,510 3.5 17,250 2.2 10,930 88.5 442,340 0.7 3,500 0.9 4,380
2015/16 4.2 21,380 3.4 17,500 2.2 11,100 88.1 448,830 0.7 3,500 1.4 7,060
2016/17 4.4 22,000 3.7 18,100 2.2 11,000 87.7 434,200 0.8 4,200 1.1 5,400
2017/18 4.6 17,430 3.3 12,340 2.5 9,390 87.2 327,720 0.8 3,070 1.5 5,820

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • in 2017/18, almost 5 times as many apprenticeships were started by people from the Black and Asian ethnic groups as in 2002/03, increasing from 2,560 to 12,340 and from 3,510 to 17,430 respectively
  • in 2017/18, more than 5 times as many apprenticeships were started by people from the Mixed group as in 2002/03, increasing from 1,770 to 9,390
  • in 2017/18, the number of apprenticeships started by people from the White group more than doubled compared to 2002/03, from 157,270 to 327,720
  • between 2016/17 and 2017/18 the percentage of people starting an apprenticeship decreased by 0.5 percentage points for the White group and 0.4 percentage points for the Black group
  • in the same period, the percentage of people starting an apprenticeship from Mixed and Asian backgrounds increased by 0.3 and 0.2 percentage points respectively

3. By ethnicity compared with the overall population

Percentage of apprenticeship starts by ethnicity, compared with the overall population by ethnicity
Ethnicity Apprenticeship starts Population (2017 estimate)
% %
Asian 4.6 8.1
Black 3.3 3.6
Mixed 2.5 2.6
White 87.2 84.6
Other 0.8 1.1

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • in 2017/18, 87.2% of apprenticeships were started by people from the White ethnic group, while White people made up 84.6% of the overall population
  • 4.6% of apprenticeships were started by people from the Asian group, while Asian people made up 8.1% of the overall population

4. Methodology

This data is from the ‘individualised learner record’, which contains administrative data about apprenticeships returned by further education providers to the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA).

It also includes any data from employers that forms part of the employer ownership pilot.

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 apprentices, and no adjustments are made by the learning provider.

Suppression rules and disclosure control

Numbers less than 5 have been suppressed.

Rounding

Participant numbers are rounded to the nearest 10. Percentages are calculated using unrounded numbers.

Quality and methodology information

Further technical information

All further education providers sent records for apprentices financed by Advanced Learner Loans before apprentices were removed from the scope of the loans programme in March 2014. 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 individual learner record return for all apprenticeship standards and for 16-18 apprenticeship frameworks. Read more about the individual learning record.

5. Data sources

Source

Type of data

Administrative data

Type of statistic

National Statistics

Publisher

Department for Education

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.

Secondary source

Type of data

Administrative and survey data

Type of statistic

Non-official statistics

Publisher

Office for National Statistics

Publication frequency

Ad-hoc

Purpose of data source

These estimates have been produced specifically for use as part of the Race Disparity Audit, following discussion with the Race Disparity Unit of their specific requirements and time-frame.

6. Download the data

Apprenticeship starts - Spreadsheet (csv) 17 KB

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