UK Government

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills: Record numbers of people successfully completing apprenticeships

Press Release   •   Dec 18, 2009 10:31 GMT

A record 143,400 people completed their apprenticeship in the 2008/09 academic year, according to data on vocational qualifications released today by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. This increase of 27.4 per cent compared to 2007/08 smashes all previous records, and means the Government has met its target to increase the number of apprenticeship completions two years early.

Statistics also showed that 239,900 people started an apprenticeship in the same academic year, representing the highest number of successful starts and completions ever in an academic year.

The overall success rate for apprenticeships was 70.9 per cent in 2008/09, significantly higher than the target success rate of 65 per cent, and the 37 per cent pass rate in 2004/05.

Apprenticeships Minister Kevin Brennan said:

“It’s great news that we’re seeing the highest ever number of people completing an apprenticeship, and that the success rates have jumped to over 70 per cent. I’d like to congratulate all the people who have successfully completed an apprenticeship, and all the businesses who continue to offer apprenticeships, even in difficult economic times.

“The figures speak for themselves: they show that apprenticeships today are rightly regarded as an excellent way to train and build the nation’s skills. As we rebuild growth, it’s essential that we continue to invest in people and their skills, especially in industries key to our future economic success.

“This Government has rescued and rebuilt apprenticeships from a low base in 1997, making significant investments and trebling apprenticeship numbers in order to provide opportunities for people to train for the jobs of the future. We know that business values the apprenticeship highly because this training is providing the skilled workers British businesses need for the future and Government remains committed to making it easier for businesses to offer them.”

Today’s statistical first release covers the number of people aged 16 and over in Further Education in England and who have taken a course funded by the Learning and Skills Council.

Other figures show that in the academic year 2008/09:

  • People started 817,400 qualifications through Train to Gain, and successfully completed 543,100 qualifications;
  • Overall, over 1.4 million Train to Gain courses have been started since the scheme was launched in April 2006 and over 850,000 people so far have gained a qualification;

Train to Gain is the Government’s flagship service to help employers improve the skills of their employees and the productivity of their businesses.

Other provisional findings from the statistical first release include:

  • People participated in 1,442,600 skills for life courses in 2008/09,  in literacy, numeracy or English;
  • Overall, between 2000/01 and 2008/09, provisional data shows 3.24 million working age adults have improved their basic skills and gained a national qualification through the Government’s skills for life strategy.

Notes to editors

  • Post-16 Education and Skills: Learner Participation, Outcomes and Level of Highest Qualification held can be found at
  • Statistics for 2005/06, 2006/07 and 2007/08 reflect the FE and Skills system before the introduction of Demand Led Funding (DLF). Statistics for 2008/09 show the FE and Skills system following the introduction of DLF and are therefore not directly comparable with those for earlier years. More information can be found on Demand Led Funding on the Data Service website:
  • The Government’s PSA target to increase the number of apprenticeship completions to 130,000 by 2010/11 has been achieved two years early.
  • The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills published Skills for Growth – the National Skills Strategy in November 2009, which sets out an ambitious vision for giving people and businesses the skills they need to help drive economic growth. The Government will create a modern class of technicians through a dramatic expansion of advanced apprenticeships, creating 35,000 new places over the next two years. For further information, see:
  • About the Department for Business Innovation & Skills.

    The Department for Business Innovation and Skills will promote open and competitive markets, proportionate regulation, an enterprise and innovation culture, skilled people, thriving universities, life-long learning and world-class science, technology and research.


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