The grant letter from the Secretaries of State for Children, Schools and Families, and for Innovation, Universities and Skills to the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) outlines plans for 118,000 successful apprenticeship completions in England in 2008-09 and 129,000 in 2009-10. The grant letter also specified an overall apprenticeship completion success rate target for 2008-09 of 65 per cent, subject to factoring in the effects of the current economic downturn. In 2007-08 113,000 people completed an apprenticeship in England and completion rates reached an all time high of 64 per cent. The 2007-08 completion rate for apprentices with learning difficulties and/or disabilities was 60 per cent. We will continue to work to improve access to and successful completion of apprenticeships and, going forward, will expect apprenticeship completion rates for people with learning difficulties and/or disabilities to be no lower than for non-disabled learners.
The Government are committed to ensuring that people who have learning difficulties or disabilities have full access to apprenticeship learning opportunities and to the specialist support and equipment they may need to complete their apprenticeships successfully. We have put in place support systems, including for the Connexions service to cater for people with learning difficulties and disabilities up to the age of 25, and through duties on the LSC to help young adults with learning difficulties and/or disabilities. We also provide extra funds to help make this happen.