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The trends section for apprenticeship starts looks at the changes over the three year period from 2019/20 to 2021/22 and is broken down into  

Trends in volumes of Apprenticeship starts 

The number of starters on apprenticeships fell sharply between 2019/20 and 2020/21, which was attributed to the impact of the pandemic. The downward trend continued into 2021/22, but at a much slower rate. Overall apprenticeship starts fell by 22% over the three-year period. 

Level trends 

Although all apprenticeship starts fell by 22%, the decline was less pronounced in advanced level apprenticeships where the numbers declined by 13% over three years. 

Over the same period the number higher level apprenticeships declined by 48%. In 2019/20 the proportion of apprenticeship starts at higher level was 13% and by 2021/22 this had declined to 8%. Conversely the share of starts at advanced level grew over the period to 55%.   

Age trends 

Starters aged 16-18 are the largest group and have grown slightly proportionally over the three years with  corresponding small reductions in the other two age groups. 

Location trends 

Although apprenticeship starts fell across all locations by 22%, the decline was 24% within the WMCA patch and 20% for those living in outside areas. 

Taking a more detailed look at the seven Local Authority areas within WMCA the overall decline in apprenticeship starts evident in all LAs, however there are differences to note: 

Sector trends 

The top sectors for apprenticeship starts were Construction, Engineering. Business and Health. 

Construction starts grew by over 30% in the three year period, while Engineering and Business starts declined by over 40% in the same period. Apprenticeship starts in Health and Science are growing along with those in Legal, Finance and Accounting.  

Priority sector trends 

The majority of Business apprenticeships starts were at advanced level. There were no intermediate level starts after 2019/20 and the number on higher level fell sharply over the three years. 

Most apprenticeship starters in Business are aged 24+. 

Apprenticeship starts in Construction at intermediate and advanced level grew in numbers over the three years. The number of starts at higher level dropped by about two thirds to 51 in 2021/22. 

There was strong growth in the number of starters aged 16-18 and to a lesser extent for those aged 19-23. The number of starters aged 24+ was roughly static.  

Apprenticeship starts in Construction at intermediate and advanced level grew in numbers over the three years. The number of starts at higher level dropped by about two thirds to 51 in 2021/22. 

There was strong growth in the number of starters aged 16-18 and to a lesser extent for those aged 19-23. The number of starters aged 24+ was roughly static.  

For the past three years almost all apprenticeship starts in Digital were on advanced level programmes. There were no starts at intermediate level after 2019/20. 

The vast majority of starters were aged 16-18 and there were no starters aged 24+ over the period. 

Overall the number of starts in Engineering apprenticeships dropped by 45% over the three years to 2021/22. The rate of decline was not even, with most robustness at advanced level. Intermediate level starts dropped by 71%, advanced level starts by 30% and higher level starts by 48% 

Across the age groups, the 16-18 age group saw the smallest decline over the three years, with a bounce back in 2021/22. Engineering starters aged 24+ dropped year-on-year to 117, a 55% decline. 

Inclusion trends 

Sex 

The decline in apprenticeship starts was roughly equal across males and females. 

Ethnicity 

Looking at all CWM apprenticeship starts, across all ages and locations, the picture looks fairly static with the vast majority of learners identifying as White. The proportion of White learners was 85% in 2021/22, following a 1% drop over each of the two previous years. There was very small growth in the proportion identifying as Asian or of mixed heritage. 

There was a 4% increase in the number of apprenticeship starters identifying as Pakistani, an 8% increase in those as identifying as ‘Other Asian’ and a 26% increase for those identifying  ‘Other Mixed or multiple Heritage’.  

Learning Difficulty and/or Disability or Health Problem 

Over the three-year period the proportion of apprenticeship starters who consider themselves to have a disability, learning difficulty or health problem increased by 3%. The increase was slightly higher in the case of those living outside the WMCA patch.