8 Important Apprenticeship Statistics in 2024

The tide is changing with apprenticeships. They are now regarded as a legitimate route into a great career, offering the best of both worlds – hands-on experience and academic learning. 

Here are 8 crucial figures to consider, whether you’re an aspiring apprentice or an apprenticeship employer in the UK.


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Young female apprentice learning from manager

1) In 2023, over 48% of apprentices who started were 25 and over

The misconception that apprenticeships are solely for school leavers has been changed by one clear fact: over 19s are surging into apprenticeships. 

Older individuals seem to recognise the value of an ‘earn-as-you-learn’ model that lets them delve into the creative field without burying themselves in academic debt. 

According to the House of Commons Library, “48% of the apprenticeships started in 2022/23 were by people aged 25 and over…and 29% were aged between 19 and 24”. 

“The age profile of people starting apprenticeships has changed in recent years, with the proportion of starts by apprentices over the age of 24 generally increasing year on year.”Apprenticeships statistics for England, House of Commons Library.


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2) Apprenticeship starts are up by 7% this academic year

In the 2023/24 academic year, there’s been a significant increase of 7.0% in apprenticeship starts, reaching an impressive total of 130,830 (as per the latest gov.uk figures). This is up from 122,290 reported for the same period in the previous year.

Young learners under 19 were at the forefront of this surge, accounting for 32.7% of these starts (that’s 42,740 apprentices).

The growth continues throughout the FE levels. Starts at Level 6 and 7 also rose by 4.2% to 22,980 in 2023/24, representing 17.6% of all starts for that academic year. That’s a slight increase from the previous year when Level 6 and 7 starts accounted for 18.0% of the total.


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3) Non STEM apprenticeship success rate is 52% in 2023

In 2023, STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects achieved an overall rate of 57.3%. However, the more creative non-STEM subjects were not far behind with an impressive achievement rate of 52%. 

For more information on our valued apprenticeship programmes at Access Industry visit our employer page.


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4) The recent apprenticeship dropout rate figure is 47%

Government figures revealed that nearly half (47%) of all apprentices are dropping out of their programmes, with 70% of these citing issues with the quality of training. This equates to about 115,000 apprentices each year.

An EDSK (Education and Skills) report points out several factors contributing to this situation. Apprentices often enter their programmes with limited information, making decisions about their future without a clear understanding of what they’re signing up for. 

There are also reports that some employers view apprentices more as workers than learners, which can lead to inadequate on-the-job training and low-skilled roles being disguised as ‘apprenticeships’.

With better transparency and clearer guidelines about apprenticeship programmes, we can help apprentices make informed decisions about their future. 

By enforcing the entitlement of one-day-a-week off-the-job training, we can ensure that apprentices receive the quality training they deserve. And most importantly, by shifting the perception of apprentices from workers to learners, we can foster a culture that values learning and development.


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5) Unveiling the highest-paid apprenticeship roles

Currently, the best-paid apprenticeships are in the region of £23,000 and upwards. According to bestapprenticeships.com two of the highest-paid apprenticeships on offer are Software Development and Cyber Security apprenticeships. 

As a Software Development apprentice with BP, you’d earn £20,000 per year, plus a £3,000 sign-on bonus. To qualify, you’ll need at least two A Levels in STEM subjects with grades C or above. This Level 4 opportunity will immerse you in the world of top programming languages like Java, C#, .Net, and NodeJS. 

The Security Cyber apprenticeship offered by the Civil Service offers a salary ranging from £23,850 to £27,000, with the higher end accounting for London living costs. To be eligible, you need to be a UK national and hold an IT qualification (like a GCSE). 


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6) As many as 85% of apprentices will stay with their employer 

Many sources, such as Reed, point to an impressive figure of around 85% that are likely to transition directly into employment upon completion of their programmes. 

This high rate underlines the effectiveness of apprenticeships in nurturing the practical skills required by the sector. This ensures a smooth entry into the job market as many apprentices continue to work full-time with the company that delivered their apprenticeship.


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7) 46% of young school leavers consider apprenticeships as their next step

While degrees are still highly regarded, a survey carried out among employers showcased a growing preference for apprenticeship experience, especially for entry-level roles. 

According to a recent edition of UCAS’s undergrad report “Where next?”, “Around half (46%) of student respondents considered apprenticeships an option for them while studying for GCSEs or National 5s and thinking about post-16 options”. 

This indicates how well apprenticeships across the board are equipping learners with industry-specific skills, as they are recognised and valued by young students looking to make their next move. 


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8) 20% of off-the-job training is required on an apprenticeship

Apprenticeship standards include a 20% off-the-job training requirement. This means that apprentices must spend 20% of their time learning outside their regular work duties. This ensures a balanced approach to learning, combining practical experience with academic study.

Apprenticeship standards in the UK are a crucial part of the apprenticeship system, setting out the skills, knowledge, and behaviours required for each apprenticeship role. These standards are developed by groups of employers, ensuring that the training provided is relevant to the needs of the industry.

“In 2016/17 5% of apprenticeship starts were on standards. A year later this had increased to 44%. BY 2020/21 practically all standards were on starts.” – Apprenticeships report, gov.uk


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The demand for UK apprenticeships is high

According to recent government apprenticeship data, the percentage of employees who were apprentices rose from 3.3% to 3.6% between the start and end of the 2022/23 period. This increase indicates that more individuals are choosing apprenticeships as their preferred career pathway.

Additionally, a new report launched during UK National Apprenticeship Week 2023 found that almost half of the public (44%) believe apprenticeships offer better career prospects than university. This shows a shift in perception towards apprenticeships, signalling their growing appeal among the UK public.


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Apprenticeships: earn while you learn

The key benefit of an apprenticeship is the ability to earn a salary while undergoing training, providing a critical bridge between education and financial stability. 

Access Creative College’s creative apprenticeship programmes are a fantastic way for young people to kickstart their careers in the creative industries. Our programmes offer a unique blend of practical experience and academic learning, enabling apprentices to gain a recognised qualification while earning a wage.

Last updated on: 7th March 2024