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Apprenticeships inquiry launched by the Sub-Committee on Education, Skills and the Economy. The inquiry follows concerns about how the Government intends to achieve the “ambitious” apprenticeships target. The creation of three million apprenticeships by 2020 was one of the Conservative Party’s key pledges during the election campaign last year, however, critics have said that standards could be effected in the drive to achieve these high numbers. The Sub-Committee welcomes submissions addressing some or all of the following points:

  • The target of three million apprentices by 2020, how the Government proposes to achieve this and how this may affect the ‘skills gap’
  • The proposal for an apprenticeships levy and how this may be implemented
  • The institutional architecture of current provision and how this may be affected by the proposed Institute for Apprenticeships
  • Take-up of apprenticeships amongst 16–19 year olds and steps that can be taken to make more young people aware of available opportunities
  • The process of applying for apprenticeships
  • Routes for progression to higher qualifications for current apprentices
  • The quality of, and minimum standards for, apprenticeships, and how standards can be enforced
  • Lessons from other countries’ approaches to apprenticeships

The committee is calling for written evidence with a deadline of midday 18 March 2016.

Working Futures 2012 to 2020, from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, suggests that high skilled jobs are due to increase over the next decade. The number of people employed in professional occupations and as managers, directors or senior officials is set to increase by 20% between 2012 and 2022. However, middle skilled jobs, blue collar and administrative roles are set to decline. There will be a steady demand for lower skill levels, as growth in the caring and leisure industries compensate for reductions in the need for machine, plant and process operatives. This is problematic for a number of reasons, not least because in this ‘hourglass’ economy it can be hard for those in lower skilled occupations to progress due to the falling numbers of roles that could act as their rungs up the ladder.

Stuck in low pay – London’s hourglass economy, from the London Assembly, finds that while London has more jobs than ever before, the economy faces a unique set of challenges resulting from the loss of mid-skilled employment opportunities and slowing productivity gain. The report found that the labour market has become ‘hollowed out’ with a 13% decline in the proportion of mid-skilled jobs (skilled administrative, manufacturing and trade jobs), meaning fewer opportunities for progression out of low pay. The proportion of jobs in London paying less than the London Living Wage has increased by 54% since 2008, with one in five jobs in 2015 now paying less than the London Living Wage. The proportion of people employed on part-time and temporary contracts has increased from 25% to 29% since 2008. In-work poverty is rising – 57% of Londoners in poverty are in working families.

The Social Mobility Index, from the Social Mobility & Child Poverty Commission, shows London ahead of other English cities. Young people from disadvantaged backgrounds who live in London and the commuter belt are more likely to achieve good outcomes in school and have more opportunities to do well as adults than those in the rest of the country. This report examines the challenges facing the Government in creating a ‘One Nation Britain’ and identifies the most and the least socially mobile areas of the country. It examines the chances available to young people from poorer backgrounds in each of the 324 local authority areas in England.

Learning to be Employable, from the City & Guilds Alliance, identifies the essential character traits young people need to thrive in the jobs market and provides a framework for them to be taught in the FE sector. The report highlights what can be done by educators, business and policymakers to ensure employability is better taught whilst young people are in education. It recommends that students should be taught a core set of employability habits before they enter the workplace including self-belief, perseverance, resilience, curiosity, empathy, creativity and craftsmanship. This thinking places the education sector firmly at the heart of developing employability skills in young people and challenges the belief that many of these skills are intrinsic and not teachable.

London Economy

The latest London forecast from GLA Economics ( suggests that:

  • On the whole the outlook for the London economy remains positive for the coming years.
  • London household income and spending are both forecast to increase over the next three years.
  • London is forecast to see rises in employment in 2015, 2016 and 2017.
  • London’s Gross Value Added (GVA) growth rate is forecast to be 3.4 per cent in 2015 with growth moderating to 3.2 per cent in 2016 and 2.7 per cent in 2017


The Office for National Statistics website has data on employment, unemployment, wages and qualifications at national, regional, local authority and ward level. The latest figures for employment by industry sector (based on September 2015 data):

Sector London % UK %
Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing 0.0 1.2
Manufacturing 2.4 7.8
Construction 5.3 6.6
Wholesale, Retail & Vehicle Repair 11.7 14.7
Transport & Storage 5.0 4.5
Hospitality & Catering 6.6 6.6
IT & Communications 7.7 4.0
Finance 7.0 3.4
Real Estate 2.1 1.6
Professional, Scientific & Technical 13.7 8.6
Administration 9.8 8.5
Public Administration & Defence 4.1 4.4
Education 7.6 8.7
Health & Social Work 9.8 12.4
Arts, Entertainment & Recreation 3.7 2.9
Other Services 2.7 2.6

Future Employment

The annual report from GLA Economics shows that jobs in London are projected to grow by an annual average rate of 0.69 per cent, equivalent to 40,800 jobs per annum, to reach 6.418 million in 2036. The report also provides future projections for both the occupations and qualifications of those employed in London:

  • Employment growth is projected in some service sectors, including the professions, scientific & technical, information & communication, admin & support, and accommodation & food service.
  • Projected declines in manufacturing and some other sectors, including wholesale, transportation and storage, and public administration.
  • Increased demand for higher level qualifications – the proportion of jobs in London requiring either a degree is projected to reach 53 per cent by 2036, with the proportion of jobs with no qualifications reaching less than 5 per cent.

The full report can be found in the GLA London Datastore.


The unemployment rate in London remains higher than the UK as a whole and much higher than the South East. The February 2016 ONS Regional Labour Market Statistics show that:

  • Unemployment in London was 6.3% compared to 5.1% for the UK as a whole and 3.9% in the South East.

Figures for January 2016 from show that:

  • The all age Jobseekers Allowance claimant rate was 1.7% in London, above the 1.6% in the UK as a whole.
  • The 18-24 claimant rate was 1.9% in London, the same as the UK as a whole. The 12 months and 6-12 month claimant rates were slightly lower or the same in London for this age group as the UK as a whole.

Graduate Employment

According to the latest (2015) edition of the annual What Do Graduates Do? report:

  • This year more graduates found work than ever before – 76.6% of graduates were working or combining work and study, against 75.6% in 2012/13 and unemployment fell from 7.3% for 2012/13 to 6.3% this year.
  • The majority of graduates who were in work, 68.2%, were in professional level employment, up from 66.3% the year before.
  • Four professions saw an increase of 500 or more graduate entrants last year – business project workers, HR and recruitment professionals, nurses and marketers.
  • The largest falls in numbers of graduate entrants were in sales and retail roles, and in routine office work.
  • The average salary for a graduate from the 2013/14 cohort working full time after six months was £20,637.

The full report can be found on the HECSU website.


In London the number of people of all ages starting an apprenticeship has increased by over 400% since 2005-06, with a figure of 45,550 starts in 2014-15. However, the proportion of under 25 year-old starters fell from 100% to 56% over the same period. A recent Ofsted report recommended that the planned growth in apprenticeships should prioritise young people aged 16 to 24. Figures since 2011-12 show a fall in total apprenticeship starts – according to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills this decrease is due to “quality improvement measures”. A TES article has examined this fall in more detail.

Apprenticeship Starts Age Under 19 % Age 19-24 %
England London England London England London
2005-06 175,000 11,010 57% 55% 43% 44%
2011-12 520,600 47,230 25% 23% 31% 29%
2012-13 510,200 45,070 22% 21% 32% 31%
2013-14 440,400 40,050 27% 24% 36% 36%
2014-15 499,900 45,550 25% 22% 31% 32%

Data from

The Find an apprenticeship service is run by the National Apprenticeship Service and advertises vacancies across the country. Looking at a sample of advertised vacancies in London live on 15 February 2016:

Sector Vacancies Applicants per Vacancy
Agriculture, Horticulture & Animal Care 2 9
Arts, Media & Publishing 2 18
Business, Administration & Law 528 19
Construction, Planning & the Built Environment 14 20
Education & Training 12 21
Engineering & Manufacturing Technologies 112 19
Health, Public Service & Care 515 16
Information & Communication Technology 116 33
Leisure, Travel & Tourism 24 8
Retail & Commercial Activity 479 7
Science & Mathematics

A more detailed of a sample of apprenticeship vacancies can be found in Apprenticeships: A Guide for Advisers (2015) on the CLC Building Futures Apprenticeships page. Weekly updates of highlighted new vacancies in Central London can be found on the Live full-time and part-time jobs page.

Minimum & Living Wage

The National Minimum Wage is set by the government, based on recommendations from the Low Pay Commission. It is the minimum hourly rate that employers must pay their workers. The government has introduced a new National Living Wage, that must be paid to workers who are 25 or over from April 2016. This new National Living Wage is not be confused with the London Living Wage, which is not binding on employers, is based on the cost of living in London and is set by the Living Wage Foundation.

Living Wage


National Minimum/Living Wage




Under 18























* National Minimum Wage increase in effect from 1 October 2015. The new National Living Wage for 25+ year-olds is introduced from April 2016.

** This rate is for apprentices under 19 or those in their first year. All other apprentices are entitled to the National Minimum Wage for their age.