Will the Minister provide evidence to back-up comments made by the Deputy Minister on 12 March 2019 that the apprenticeship scheme in England is "in free fall" and that the "number of starts in Wales has increased"?
In Wales, we are on track to meet our commitment to deliver a minimum of 100,000 all-age, high quality apprenticeships by the end of this Assembly. We have delivered 56,635 apprenticeship starts against this target between May 2016 and July 2018, as published by statswales. The number of starts increased by 30 per cent in 2017/18 compared with the previous academic year.
In contrast, the position in England is somewhat different. Full details can be found in the National Audit Office’s Apprenticeship Programme report published on 6 march 2019: https://www.nao.org.uk/report/the-apprenticeships-programme/.