Response to further education and skills statistics: November 2022

Responding to latest figures on learner participation and achievements in England for the 2021 to 2022 academic year, including apprenticeships and adult further education, Emily Jones, deputy director, said:


24 11 2022


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It’s good to see that participation in adult further education (FE) provision and apprenticeship starts increased in the academic year 2021/22 compared to 2020/21. However, this is not the whole picture. Overall participation is still lower than pre-pandemic levels, with an 11% drop in apprenticeship starts and a 25% drop in participation in adult FE provision compared to 2018/19. There’s an equalities dimension too, as the data shows that participation in Level 2 skills – including essential skills like English, maths and ESOL – has fallen by more than a fifth since 2018/19, whereas there’s been continued growth in Level 4+ programmes. This reflects a wider picture where employers across the UK are investing less in training, with those with the lowest qualifications missing out. This not only restricts individual opportunity and potential, the Government’s aim of developing a high skill, high wage economy is also being put at risk. While Government investment in the National Skills Fund and apprenticeships is welcome, this doesn’t go far enough to fill the gap, with our analysis showing that investment in adult learning and skills is set to be £1 billion lower in 2025 than in 2010.