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Volume 487: debated on Wednesday 28 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what recent discussions he has had with (a) sector skills councils and (b) individual employers on the revised Apprenticeship Blueprint, with particular reference to (i) college-based and (ii) work-based programmes. (246312)

The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) is leading the development of the revised Apprenticeship Blueprint. The LSC has consulted with Sector Skills Councils (SSCs), Standard Setting Bodies (SSBs) and other employer representatives involved with the Apprenticeship Framework Approval Group to develop the revisions to the Apprenticeships Blueprint. The LSC met SSCs, SSBs and other employer representatives in December 2008 to discuss the revisions and a full public consultation on the revised Blueprint will be launched in February 2009. We expect SSCs, employers, colleges and providers of work-based programmes to respond to the consultation.

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many apprentices there were in (a) 2006-07 and (b) 2007-08. (251126)

In the 2006-07 academic year, there were 184,400 apprenticeship starts. The number of apprenticeship starts in 2007-08 was 224,800. This information was published in a statistical first release on 18 December 2008.

There has been a renaissance in apprenticeships, and starts have been increasing, from 65,000 in 1996-97 with 27 per cent. completion, with 2008 completions standing at 64 per cent. Framework completions have increased from 39,000 in 2001-02 to 111,800 in 2006-07 and 112,600 in 2007-08.

My right hon. Friend, the Minister of State for Higher Education and Intellectual Property, wrote to the hon. Member on 11 March 2008, Official Report, column 286W, on the subject of how we count apprenticeships. In “World-Class Apprenticeships”, we announced that we were changing the way we count apprenticeships, moving to counting the number of people starting an apprenticeship in the year (‘starts’) and the percentage who complete an apprenticeship (‘completion rate’). Therefore, information on the total number of apprenticeships in training during the year is not available.