The Department for Education’s Individualised Learner Record (ILR), Apprenticeship Service and the Office for National Statistics Inter-Departmental Business Register (IDBR) have been matched together to allow information about apprentices to be linked to business information relating to the apprentice’s employer, covering:
- Learner characteristics: age, gender, ethnicity, learners with learning difficulties and/or disabilities and whether they live in a relatively deprived area (based on the Index of Multiple Deprivation)
- Apprenticeship information: level, standard/framework, subject studied, whether they were supported by levy funds from an Apprenticeship Service Account (ASA) and geography of the workplace of the apprenticeship (region, local authority and parliamentary constituency),
- Employer enterprise characteristics: industry sector (broad and 2 digit Standard Industrial Classification 2007), size band (number of employees) and legal status.
This edition contains new data linking apprenticeship starts and achievements in 2020/21 from the ILR to enterprises in the IDBR from December 2021. The resulting linked education and business (ILR-IDBR) dataset is used here to produce:
- Estimates for volumes of apprenticeship starts by employer enterprise characteristics between 2012/13 and 2020/21,
- Estimates of the volume of enterprises with apprenticeship starts, by enterprise characteristics between 2012/13 and 2020/21,
- For the first time, volumes of apprenticeship achievements by employer enterprise characteristics, between 2018/19 and 2020/21.
In 2020/21 there were 321,440 apprenticeship starts in England, of which 94% (303,740) were matched to an employer in the IDBR database. These matched apprenticeship starts took place within 68,270 unique enterprises in England. The match rate has steadily increased since the first match in 2012/13 (when it was 88%).
More information on the matching approach used can be found in the accompanying methodology note.
Please note that in the next update to these statistics, the matching approach to link to the IDBR will be changing slightly. For more details, please see the methodology note.
The statistics presented here relate to matched apprenticeship starts only, and so will be slightly lower than the official figures published in the DfE Apprenticeships and Traineeships National Statistics.
The use of the term ‘enterprise’ in this publication refers to an enterprise as defined in the ONS IDBR as ‘a business under autonomous and single control, usually producing a single set of accounts’. The enterprise size, however, refers to either the number of employees in the enterprise, or in the enterprise group to which the enterprise belongs - where applicable (an enterprise group consists of several enterprises under common ownership). All other characteristics are those belonging to the enterprise wherever possible. The geographical information refers to the workplace of the apprenticeship except for Ministry of Defence apprenticeships, where the training provider’s location is used.
Work will continue to improve the statistics as knowledge of the underlying data source develops.
ONS have supplied the Inter-departmental Business Register data used in this publication, but they bear no responsibility for the further analysis or interpretation of that data contained here.
An apprenticeship is a job with training. Through their apprenticeship, apprentices will gain the technical knowledge, practical experience and wider skills and behaviours they need for their immediate job and future career. The apprentice gains this through formal off-the-job training and the opportunity to practise these new skills in a real work environment.
The UK-wide apprenticeship levy came into force on 6 April 2017 requiring all UK public and private sector employers with an annual pay bill of £3 million or more to invest in apprenticeship training. As of May 2017, reforms have been made to how apprenticeship funding works, including the introduction of the apprenticeship levy and apprenticeship service. The profile of apprenticeship starts changed significantly since the introduction of the levy which, along with the introduction of apprenticeship standards (that are replacing frameworks), has impacted on the number and nature of apprenticeship starts.
Until July 2020, there were two types of apprenticeships: ‘frameworks’ and ‘standards’. New standards have been replacing the older apprenticeship frameworks in recent years. All new apprenticeship starts from the 2020/21 academic year onwards are on apprenticeship standards.
In addition, the 2019/20 and 2020/21 data covers a period affected by varying COVID-19 restrictions, which will have impacted on apprenticeship learning and also provider reporting behaviour via the Individualised Learner Record. Therefore, extra care should be taken in comparing and interpreting data presented in this release.