An analysis of the duration and achievement of apprenticeships in England

By Matthew Bursnall, Vahé Nafilyan and Stefan Speckesser

In this new paper by researchers at the Centre for Vocational Education Research (CVER) the authors aim to provide evidence about starts, achievement rates and duration for a recent cohort of UK apprentices. For the cohort of all 516,880 intermediate and advanced apprenticeships starting in England in 2011/12, they find that one third were withdrawn and a further 10 per cent were not completed within 36 months. They also note that completion is strongly related to measures of prior achievement (full Level 2 or 3 qualifications) and observe substantial variation by framework, i.e. apprentices are more likely to achieve if they choose certain vocational areas instead of others. The authors suggest that on-going apprenticeship reform should more clearly look at such indicators to evaluate whether reforms actually increase individual achievement or similar outcomes. Another implication is to provide better information for those interested in apprenticeships on expected outcomes. For example, the ‘findanapprenticeship’ website could offer a tool for potential apprentices to insert personal characteristics, and be given information on the probability of achievement and expected labour market outcomes for a person with these characteristics.

Access the findings here.