Published: 00:00, 14 March 2016
| Updated: 09:24, 14 March 2016
The number of people starting apprenticeships in Kent grew by 2,290 people in the last four years amid a flurry of new employers and growing awareness.
As National Apprenticeship Week gets underway, we can reveal the constituency of Folkestone and Hythe had the highest growth in the county of people becoming an apprentice, up 330 to 1,090 from 2011 to 2015.
“We have seen strong growth in start ups in the area who are now looking to take on people,” said the area’s MP Damian Collins.
“Creative businesses in Folkestone that were new five years ago are taking on apprenticeships.
“There has also been a big push from Shepway District Council to promote awareness of the funding available to businesses trying to take on an apprentice.”
Only Canterbury and Faversham and Mid Kent suffered a small decline in the number of people starting an apprenticeship.
Nationally, between the 2010/11 and 2014/15 academic years, 2.4 million apprenticeship starts were made.
In the 2015 Queen’s Speech, the government set a target of three million new apprenticeships over the course of this parliament.
In the last academic year, there were 499,900 apprenticeship starts in England, up 59,500 (14%) on the previous year. However, it was the first year since 2011/12 in which apprenticeship numbers increased.
According to the House of Commons Library, the growth in the number of apprenticeships since 2009/10 has been largely driven by an increase in the number of apprenticeship starts by people aged 25 and over.
In 2014/15, they made up 43% of all apprenticeship starts across the country and were the largest group of starters for the fifth year in a row. There were 214,000 apprenticeship starters aged 25 or over, with 160,000 aged 19-24 and 126,000 under 19.
Business, administration and law make up majority of starts, standing at 143,000, with health, public services and care second at 130,000 starts. The two areas made up 55% of new apprenticeship starts.
Just 7,000 people started the apprenticeships in agriculture, horticulture and animal care, with the same number starting in education and training. The lowest take up was in arts, media and publishing, with just 1,000 new starts.
Every year since 2010/11 more apprenticeships starts have been by women than men.
In 2014/15, about 53% of apprenticeships were started by women, totalling 264,800, compared to 235,100 men.