About the data
The number of apprenticeship starts in Somerset has decreased significantly from 5,248 in 2015/16 to 3,919 in 2017/18. This is a fall of 25.3%. The number of apprenticeships starts have in fact fallen significantly across all geographic areas, most notably between 2016/17 and 2017/18. Across the Heart of the South West LEP area, the number of apprenticeships starts fell from 17,835 to 13,167 in that single year, a decrease of 26.2%.
- Starts in Mendip fell from 918 to 750, or by 18.3% between 2015/16 and 2017/18.
- Starts in Sedgemoor fell from 1,114 to 826, or by 25.9% between 2015/16 and 2017/18. In fact, having been the only district in Somerset to see a small increase in starts between 2015/16 and 2016/17, they subsequently fell by 29.8% between 2017/17 and 2017/18.
- Starts fell from 1,745 to 1,224, or by 29.9% in South Somerset between 2015/16 and 2017/18.
- Starts fell from 1,138 to 925, or by 18.7% in Taunton Deane between 2015/16 and 2017/18.
- West Somerset has the smallest and oldest population of all districts in Somerset and sees far fewer apprenticeships being delivered compared with its neighbours. Nevertheless, it also saw the biggest fall in starts of all districts between 2015/16 and 2017/18, from 335 to 194, or 42.1%.
Conversely, over the same period, the number of apprenticeship achievements in Somerset increased very steadily from 2,748 in 2015/16 to a recent peak of 2,796 2017/18, and total increase of 1.7%. Across the Heart of the South West LEP area there was also an increase in achievements over the same period, though more notably from 9,971 to 10,851, or by 8.8%.
- Achievements increased in Mendip from 459 to 507, or by 10.5% between 2015/16 and 2017/18.
- Sedgemoor was the only district to see a net fall in achievements between 2015/16 and 2017/18, from 634 to 607, or by 4.3%. They actually fell more sharply in the single year between 2015/16 and 2016/17, by 7.3%, but recovered slightly in the year to 2017/18.
- Achievements increased very slightly in South Somerset from 907 to 9,18, or by 1.2% between 2015/16 and 2017/18, having seen a sharper rise (6.3%) and then fall (4.8%) in the intervening year.
- The number of achievements in Taunton Deane remained at 616 between 2015/16 and 2017/18, having seen a fall and then subsequent rise of 3.4% in the intervening year.
- Achievements increased from 132 to 148 in West Somerset, or by 11.7% 232 between 2015/16 and 2017/18, having increased more sharply to 320 (20.7%) before falling again slightly in the intervening year.
Please Note: On the 1st May 2017 Apprenticeship Reform was introduced, representing a significant change to apprenticeship policy and funding. The impact of these changes is unfolding, including a significant reduction in apprenticeship starts. It is difficult to fully understand at this stage how the reforms have changed the apprenticeship landscape, but the decrease in starts suggest a decrease in the number of employers engaging with apprenticeships and a consequent decrease in the number of opportunities available for local people. However, the Department for Education advises that caution should be taken interpreting what apprenticeship service data may mean for the overall apprenticeship programme given this is a relatively new system, intended to grow over coming years, and points out that there may be other influencing factors, such as users taking time to adjust to recording data on a new system and employers having two years to spend their levy funds.
Source: Heart of the South West LEP Datacube, Skills Funding Agency, 2017