Press release

10,000 Higher Apprenticeships to help business build the skills for growth

Prime Minister David Cameron today announced details of a £25m fund that will support up to 10,000 Advanced and Higher Apprenticeships, giving firms the hi-tech skills they need to grow.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Visiting Jaguar Land Rover in the Midlands, Prime Minister David Cameron today announced details of a £25m fund that will support up to 10,000 Advanced and Higher Apprenticeships, giving firms in sectors such as advanced manufacturing, information technology and engineering the hi-tech skills they need to grow.

The Higher Apprenticeships Fund will support the expansion of apprenticeships up to degree equivalent in companies, particularly SMEs, where there is unmet demand for the higher level skills that are necessary to create additional jobs and growth.

Industry representatives are invited to bid to the fund, which will be delivered via the National Apprenticeship Service, from today.  The new apprenticeships will commence from October 2011.

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

I am determined that this government should be the most pro-business there has been, with one purpose and one goal: creating jobs and growth.

It is therefore crucial that we build up the skills in this country that our businesses need and that will fuel long term growth. That is why despite some difficult decisions on spending we are increasing the number of apprenticeships to record levels.

We are investing in apprenticeships because we know they work - they are good for people who want to get ahead, good for business and good for the country.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said:

As I work with the business community to rebalance and grow the economy, apprenticeships will increasingly deliver not just basic training, but also the high level, high tech skills that drive growth.  The Higher Apprenticeships Fund is a crucial step towards placing vocational learning on a par with academic study, giving bright youngsters the opportunity to work with and build the most dynamic firms in the country.

The £25m for the Higher Apprenticeships Fund is part of a package of additional investment in apprenticeships totalling £180m, announced in this year’s Budget.  The Government is committed to funding some 360,000 apprenticeships this financial year alone.

Skills Minister John Hayes said:

The Government is on track to deliver the biggest and best apprenticeships programme our country has ever seen.   But we’re determined to do more to give smaller firms, especially in high skill industries, the help they need to reap the benefits of world class training.  With every £1 the Government spends on an apprenticeship delivering a return of some £40 to the wider economy, this fund is a sound investment in the country’s future.

The fund will build on support offered to business via the Growth and Innovation Fund and the Growth Review, which are designed to target Government support on firms and sectors which will benefit most from additional investment in skills training.

Notes to Editors

  1. The Higher Apprenticeship Fund prospectus is available at
  2. In May 2010 the Government announced an aspiration to deliver 50,000 additional adult apprenticeship places over the2010-11 financial year. Statistics released in June show that the Government has delivered over 103,000 additional adult apprenticeship starts over this time. Provisional data shows that a total of 257,000 adult apprenticeship starts have been delivered between April 2010 and March 2011. By the end of this Parliament, the Government is committed to supporting an additional 250,000 apprenticeships, compared to the previous Government’s plans. Planned investment will deliver some 360,000 apprenticeships in financial year 2011/12.
  3. The Government is committed not only to increasing the number and range of Apprenticeships on offer, but also to improving their quality. It will reshape the Apprenticeship programme so that Advanced level becomes the level to which learners and employers should aspire, and will ensure there are clear routes into higher level skills training including, but not exclusively, Higher Apprenticeships.
  4. There are more than 85,000 employers offering Apprenticeships, and almost 200 job roles in which someone may be an apprentice.
  5. The Growth Review is a fundamental assessment of what every part of Government is doing to provide the conditions for private sector growth.  It is a rolling programme will last the whole of this Parliament. The Plan for Growth formed the first part of the Growth Review, which was published alongside the Budget in March this year. It examined 15 sectors and themes across the economy including advanced manufacturing, setting out     an action plan to breakdown barriers and promote opportunities for growth. The next phase of the Growth Review, launched in June, is examining  the theme of education and skills. More detail can be found at:
  6. Following the first round of applications to the £50m Growth and Innovation Fund, innovative proposals to deliver world class training in seven leading industries have been selected for further development.  Business planning will now get under way for a new National Skills Academy for Health, which will be led by the Skills for Health Sector Skills Council. Plans are being developed for existing National Skills Academies to be expanded, with the National Skills Academy for Nuclear embracing nuclear manufacturing and the National Skills Academy for Creative and Cultural Skills expanding into the jewellery, design and heritage industries. Specific projects with joint employer and public funding are being initiated to boost specialist skills in the fitness and playwork industries.  The above projects will draw on joint funding from employers and the Government, via the Skills Funding Agency.

Apprenticeship case study: BAE Systems

In 2010 BAE Systems launched Skills 2020, an integrated skills and education programme to respond to the skills challenges of the next decade. Apprenticeships are a key part of this strategy, which enables BAE Systems to meet changing customer and business needs and meet future skills capability requirements.

In 2010 BAE Systems had 1009 apprentices in training across various sites in England with a further 207 in Scotland. 95% of their apprentices are in engineering and related areas. 65% of learners progress on to higher level training and qualifications on completion of their apprenticeship, with at least 20 continuing to degree level every year.

BAE apprenticeships range through NVQ levels 2, 3 and 4 with the vast majority being Advanced Apprenticeships.  The apprenticeships cover the following disciplines;

  • Aircraft Maintenance
  • Engineering - Craft & Technician
  • Software Engineering
  • Planning Engineers
  • Business & Administration.

Around 150 of BAE’s learners are currently on higher level programmes equivalent to Higher Apprenticeships, such as the A level entry Nuclear Trainee programme at the Submarines business.  Numbers are likely to grow, in particular to deliver the high levels of technical skills needed to design and manufacture the successor submarine to the Vanguard Class.  BAE Systems are currently working to remodel their higher level programme to adapt into a Higher Apprenticeship.

Published 22 July 2011