Adult apprenticeship applications drop as new training costs introduced

Data on applications for official loans has shown that only 77 adults have applied for apprenticeships out of the expected number of 25,000 so far this academic year.

From this year, if the employer chooses not to cover the training costs, apprentices over the age of 24 must take out of a loan of around £4,000 to cover the costs themselves.

The National Institute for Adult and Continuing Education says that the low adult apprenticeship figures suggest that the additional costs are off-putting.

David Hughes, NIACE chief executive, said: “This has been one of the government’s flagship programmes, but it has not been a very good start. This looks like a policy that’s broken and we’re keen to work with government, employers, providers and learners to put it right. Along with others we have been concerned about how loans would work in financing apprenticeships and have repeatedly called for government to take specific action to ensure that advanced and higher apprenticeships remain a viable option for adults aged 24 and over.

“What’s clear is that we need to be doing all we can to ensure that more people see apprenticeships as a route worth investing in to a sustained and fulfilling career. Our economy is crying out for people with these levels of skills and experience and adults deserve the chance to learn and progress at work.”