Election 2017

Reality Check: How many apprenticeships have been created since 2010?

Damian Green: "2010-2015 we created two million more apprenticeships. We are on target to create another three million by 2020."

The claim: Since 2010, the government has revived the culture of apprenticeships by creating two million new places and will create another three million by 2020.

Reality Check verdict: There were not two but nearly two-and-a-half million new apprenticeships created in England under the coalition government between 2010-11 and 2014-2015.

Work and Pensions Secretary Damian Green told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that the culture of apprenticeships had been revived with the creation of two million new places between 2010 and 2015.

That period was actually the time of the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government.

Skills and training are devolved policy areas so the figures quoted by Mr Green apply to England only.

There were not two but nearly two-and-a-half million new apprenticeships in that period. According to a report by the House of Commons Library, using figures by the Department for Business Innovation & Skills, between 2010-11 and 2014-15, there were 2.428 million new apprenticeships started in England.

Mr Green said there will be another three million new apprenticeships created by 2020.

Under the Conservative government in 2015-16, there were 509,400 new apprenticeships in England, 9,500 more than the previous year.

The report points out that the growth has been driven by an increase in the number of apprenticeships available to people aged 25 and over, who took 44% of all new available spaces in 2015-16. The number of women starting apprenticeships has been higher than men in every year in that period. In 2015-16, women started 53% of apprenticeships and men 47%.

In 2015/16, the top three sectors, which made up 71% of new apprenticeships, were in three categories: business, administration and law; health, public service and care; and retail and commercial enterprises.

All public sector employers with at least 250 employees in England must employ new apprentices as 2.3% of their headcount each year.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has, however, warned in a report this year that that this large expansion "risks increasing quantity at the expense of quality".

The think tank warns that it could devalue the "brand" of apprenticeships by turning it into "just another term for training".

The Department for Education said at the time that standards are "rigorously checked".


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