Data in this section refers to 2020/21 and was first published in March 2022. Data for 2021/22 is planned to be released in March 2023.
In March 2020, the Secretary of State announced that the summer 2020 exam series in England would be cancelled to help fight the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19). This announcement also stated that Government will not publish any school, college or provider-level educational performance data based on tests, assessments or exams for the 2019/20 academic year.
In February 2021, given the continued disruption, it was confirmed this would also be the case for the 2020/21 academic year. As a consequence of the disruption to the assessment process, the government announced a change to its accountability arrangements published here where it states providers will not be held to account on the basis of exams and assessment data from summer 2020. This release will therefore not contain any provider level data.
The overall apprenticeship achievement rate has seen an increase of 0.2 percentage points between 2019/20 and 2020/21.
Changes in achievement rates are dependent on a combination of retention rates and pass rates. Pass rates have increased by 0.2 percentage points between 2019/20 and 2020/21 whilst retention rates have increased by 0.1 percentage points.
The apprenticeship achievement rate measure is additionally reliant on the persons continued employment and in some sectors there is higher churn so caution should be used interpreting simple averages because changes in provision mix across sectors will lead to change in overall averages.
Things you need to know about this release
Correction to 2019/20 achievement rates
Please note we include achievement rate data on a three-year basis using a pooled dataset made up of six years' worth of data. 2019/20 was originally published in March 2021 and as previously announced was removed in February 2022 due to an error in the calculations. See the methodology section for further details.
Care should be taken when comparing outcomes with previous years.
The purpose of releasing this achievement rate data for 2019/20 and 2020/21 is to maintain the continuity of information and to provide context alongside the achievement volumes found elsewhere in this publication. It is important to maintain transparency by presenting the national level data for this cohort of learners whilst recognising the extraordinary circumstances under which apprenticeships were completed in 2019/20 and 2020/21, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Different sectors have been affected in different ways and as a result the 2019/20 and 2020/21 data should not be directly compared to data from previous years.
1 Impact of the pandemic on apprenticeship achievement rates
Care should be taken when comparing with previous years due to the effects of the pandemic. A number of things will have impacted the data. For example there was an increase in the number of breaks in learning which meant learners being reported in a different year to the one in which they were expected to complete. In 2018/19 only 6,000 learners were carried forward whereas 24,000 and 28,000 were carried forward in 2019/20 and 2020/21 respectively.
In terms of the number of learners recorded as being on a break in learning, the data show an increase from 28,100 in 2018/19 to 77,500 in 2019/20. 2020/21 shows 42,300. Withdrawals were not impacted so much with data showing a decrease from 127,200 in 2018/19 to 117,100 in 2019/20. For 2020/21 there were 117,700 withdrawals recorded.
At the end of the 2019/20 academic year there were a total of 54,500 records where the learning was expected to have ended but the outcome was unknown. Looking at the final data return for 2020/21 we can now confirm that 42,700 of those now have a known outcome, 7,300 are recorded as continuing learning, and 2,200 have completed learning with the outcome as yet unknown. Of those with a known outcome 32,100 (75.1%) have achieved. The majority (30,600) have an achievement date which falls in the 2020/21 academic year rather than their original planned end date of 2019/20.
For the 2020/21 QAR reporting year we can observe 53,900 additional learners who were expected to have ended in a previous year but have now come into scope for the 2020/21 statistics. This represents 19.6% of all learners in the cohort for 2020/21. Of those 35,700 (66.2%) are marked as having achieved. In contrast there are 28,000 learners who were planned to have completed by 2020/21 but who are marked as continuing. They have fallen out of scope for 2020/21 and will be included in a future publication.
2 Impact of the pandemic on data collection
Additionally the methodology for creating achievement rates has been partially affected in two ways. Firstly, the announcement that Government will not publish any provider level educational performance data for the 2019/20 or 2020/21 academic years. Therefore we did not share any provider level data with providers for 2019/20 which normally helps them to improve the quality of their final data return. Secondly, this limited the fuller quality assurance processes including working closely with providers on anomalies in their data. Whilst we were able to re-introduce the fuller QA process for the 2020/21 data, we are aware that providers were still affected by disruption due to the COVID pandemic.
Apprenticeships overall achievement rates by sector subject area
The mix of achievement rates across each sector subject area can be found to vary which can affect the national average, where figures could be found to be misleading.
Health, Public Services and Care has shown the largest percentage point increase in achievement rate (+4.3) between 2019/20 and 2020/21, followed by Leisure, Travel and Tourism (+4.0).
Education and Training has shown the largest decrease (-9.4) with Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies having the next largest decrease (-5.9).
Impact of the transition from Frameworks to Standards
When looking at achievement rates it is important to consider the impact of programme change in the nature of the provision resulting from the transition of frameworks to standards. Standards are designed to be more demanding than traditional frameworks. The assessment process is also more rigorous with a specific end point assessment phase following completion of training designed to ensure the apprentice is ready to do the job they have been trained for. In 2018/19 the proportion of learners on standards stood at 18.5% whilst for 2019/20 the proportion had increased to 46.3%. For 2020/21 the proportion has now reached 65.9%.
Apprenticeships overall achievement rates for frameworks and standards
The gap between frameworks and standards has reduced significantly since last year. The achievement rate for apprenticeship standards increased by 6.6 percentage points. The achievement rate for apprenticeship frameworks increased by 0.8 percentage points. The proportion of learners on frameworks and standards has changed significantly since last year with more learners now on standards for the first time.
An explanatory note is available alongside this release to show more detail for apprenticeship standards. Please see the ‘Explanatory Note On Apprenticeship Achievement Rates For Standards' supporting file in the Explore data and files section.
Apprenticeship achievement rates for individual standards and frameworks can be found in the ‘Apprenticeship Achievement Rates Standards and Frameworks’ supporting file in the Explore data and files section.
Please note that not all frameworks/standards are included to preserve provider anonymity. Any framework/standard with less than 30 leavers, or with 10 or less providers, or where one provider accounts for more than 60% of all leavers, has been removed. A list of frameworks/standards which have been removed can be found in the ‘Apprenticeship Achievement Rates Standards and Frameworks redactions’ supporting file in the Explore data and files section.
Overall apprenticeship achievement rates by ethnicity
The figures in this section cover the achievement rates for those learners who are from minority ethnic groups. Please note the figures for “White” include white minorities.
The following table covers overall apprenticeship achievement rates by ethnicity between 2018/19 and 2020/21.
Overall Apprenticeship Achievement Rates
|Ethnic minorities (excluding white minorities)||61.6%||50.5%||53.0%|
In 2020/21, learners from minority ethnic groups had an overall apprenticeship achievement rate of 53.0%, an increase of 2.5 percentage points from 50.5% in 2019/20 but a decrease of 8.6 percentage points since 2018/19.
As is the case when looking into other learner attributes the variation in achievement rates by ethnicity is mainly driven by the mix of sector subject areas being undertaken. For 2020/21 this is driven by a large cohort volume of 10,900 for the Health, Public Services and Care sector (16.6% of all learners were from minority ethnic groups) and 10,910 for the Business, Administration and Law sector (12.8% of all learners were from minority ethnic groups) with overall achievement rates of 53.9% and 49.8% respectively. By comparison, only 7.5% of learners in the Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies sector were from minority ethnic groups.
The sector with the highest achievement rate for learners from minority ethnic groups learners was Leisure, Travel and Tourism with 70.3%. The lowest achievement rate was for the Retail and Commercial Enterprise sector with 47.3%.
Apprenticeship overall achievement rates by detailed level
Achievement rates at levels 3, 4 and 5 increased in 2020/21 when compared to 2019/20. Achievement rates decreased at levels 2, 6, and 7 with level 6 showing the largest decrease albeit from a low volume of learners. Compared to 2018/19, rates decreased at all levels except for level 7 though again this was from a low volume of learners.
UPDATED 11th August 2022 : Clarification regarding data for 2018/19 and 2019/20
Each year, when we publish NARTS, we release:
- The latest year’s data, which is also used for any accountability purposes. (though note our restrictions on the use of data for these purposes during the pandemic period)
- Updated figures relating to previous years’ NARTs (going back 2 years). Though this data may show small differences compared to what we previously published for accountability purposes, we include it for transparency and quality assurance processes to illustrate any impacts which the latest methodology may have had historically. They are not used for any accountability purposes.
We have conducted some analysis on historical figures relating to longer apprenticeship programmes, this has a small impact (please see table below) on national figures for the two preceding years to the 2020/21 year that would normally be used for any accountability purposes, but users should note the impact on the electrotechnical and engineering manufacture frameworks.
Impact of analysis on longer apprenticeships to quality assurance data for 2018/19 and 2019/20
The following table covers the impact of analysis on longer apprenticeships to quality assure data for 2018/19 and 2019/20.
Expected End Year
|2020/21||57.7%|| no change|
More detail on this analysis and its effect can be found in our methodology document under section 5 here.
To address this issue we are reviewing our future approach to showing re-cast historical data ahead of our next publication of achievement rates, which is provisionally scheduled for March 2023. That is when we are scheduled to publish provider level data to support the Apprenticeship Accountability Framework. We will only include provider level data for 2021/22 in line with the agreed approach to school and college accountability, performance tables and data during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, as published here.
Positive destination rates have been calculated for Traineeships for the first time and are provided here for transparency. Users should note the caveats for these new rates that are based on provider information on destinations and how this compares with existing measures we publish in this release for traineeships on completions and conversion to apprenticeships and in the Outcome Based Success Measures release.
Traineeship positive destination rates are produced to provide a measure of performance that is aligned to other QAR measures for apprenticeships and education and training. In common with other QARs they count the total number of learners who were due to complete in the given year (the denominator). However for Traineeship we determine an achievement (the numerator) as being activity where a positive destination is recorded in the Individualised Learner Record rather than a successful pass of the programme or qualification entered.
Of the 13,550 traineeships who were expected to complete in 2020/21 we can observe 10,650 completions.
The overall positive destination rate for Traineeships is 52.6% i.e. we can observe 7,120 positive destinations recorded from the 13,550 originally due to complete in 2020/21.
Of the 13,550 originally due to complete in 2020/21, 16.0% (2,170) are recorded with apprenticeship as the destination.
Points to note on how traineeships QARs are measured
The positive destinations method for traineeships is reliant on providers accurately being able to report destinations in the ILR. 52.6% were reported as going into employment or other forms of training including part time FE learning. A large number of traineeships, 47.4%, are currently reported with “not applicable” as their destination, and these are not counted as having a successful outcome. While many may not be applicable because they did not have a successful outcome, there will be cases where providers do not know the outcome and the learner did find employment or go into other learning.
Additionally, the positive destinations method for this year has not accounted for flexibilities introduced because of COVID that extended the time Traineeships learners had to finish the programme which may have had some impact on the published rate.
Traineeship data is reported here for transparency with a view to prompting improvements in the recording of destinations and enabling a more representative rate in future.
Technical specifications for how achievement rates are calculated can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/qualification-achievement-rates-and-minimum-standards
Further information on Traineeship funding rules including how the performance management process works can be found here: ESFA funding for traineeships - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Points to note on how traineeship QARs compare with other data published
In the Traineeship section of this release we publish total starts and how many of these completed. This will vary from the QAR measure because this counts all starts observed in the year including those due to complete in the following year. This measure also allows for COVID flexibilities.
In the Traineeship section of this release we also publish conversions to apprenticeships which for 2019/20 (and counting subsequent apprenticeship starts throughout 2020/21) were 18.8%. This is based on administrative data and takes all the known starts for a year and tracks any learner found in an apprenticeship in the following year. The QAR method only relies on what providers have captured directly or from a learner so this administrative measure is a more complete observation of who goes onto apprenticeships.
The Outcome Based Success Measures release uses the LEO dataset that brings together DfE, HMRC and DWP records to show positive outcomes over the October to March period after the year a learner completes. The latest data for 2018/19 completers shows 63% had a sustained positive outcome and a further 21% having a positive destination that was not sustained (which will include those doing shorter periods of further learning or employment).
Additional featured tables
The following tables offer more detailed breakdowns and combinations of characteristics and are available in our table builder tool :
Apprenticeship achievement rates demographic summary
Apprenticeship achievement rates by sector subject area and Ethnicity group learners
Apprenticeship achievement rates by sector subject area and gender
Apprenticeship achievement rates by sector subject area and learners with learning difficulty and or disability