Figures show 19% decline in apprentices aged 19 and under

Junior Shadow Education Minister Tristram Hunt has spoken out against the falling number of apprenticeship starts among under-19s, it has been reported.

His response follows the publication of the latest Statistical First Release (SFR) which revealed a 19% drop in apprenticeships among 16-18 year olds in February to April this year than in 2012.

Mr Hunt said: “A tightening up of quality is fine and while we are supportive of apprenticeship reviews that question rigour, that doesn’t equate to a 19 per cent fall. Matthew Hancock tries as valiantly as he can but he’s clearly not getting through to the Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove. This is a terrible indictment of Mr Gove’s lack of interest in those who wish to pursue a vocational future. While the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills is pulling its weight, Gove is undermining the apprenticeship brand.

“Mr Hancock needs to spell out the importance of the 16 to 18 scheme, particularly when considering there are one million young people who are NEETs (not in education, employment or education).”