Record number of people doing apprenticeships in the UK

Sarah Spickernell
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The government hopes to have delivered 3m apprenticeships by 2020
The government hopes to have delivered 3m apprenticeships by 2020 (Source: Getty)

An unprecedented number of people are now doing apprenticeships in the UK, according to the department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Bis).

Provisional figures for 2014/2015 show that more than 872,000 people were employed by government-funded apprenticeship schemes over the 12 month period, up from 851,000 the year before. Five years ago the number of people doing apprenticeships was under 500,000.

Read more: Top apprentices can earn £50,000 more than university graduates

The number of new people starting on schemes also jumped up in the last year, going up from 10,400 in 2013/2014 to 19,200 in 2014/2015.

The government's ambition is to have enrolled three million people on apprenticeships by 2020, which is an increase from the 2.38m delivered in the last parliament. It estimates that for every £1 invested in apprenticeships, the economy receives a return of between £26 and £28.

Nick Boles, minister of state for skills, said:

Our apprenticeship reforms are helping to build the modern highly skilled workforce British businesses need.

Through protecting apprenticeship quality, reforming funding and working with top universities to launch new degree apprenticeships, we are making sure apprenticeships deliver for individuals, businesses and the economy.

Earlier this month, the government announced that it was raising the apprentice rate of the national minimum wage by 57 pence to £3.30 an hour, and by 20 pence to £6.70 an hour for adult workers.

This was the biggest ever boost to apprenticeship wages, and means that those working 40 hours or more each week will earn an extra £1,185 over the course of the year.

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