In response to Janice Davis: Time to take a leaf out of the Swiss Apprenticeship book, Busy Mum wrote:
The drop in apprenticeship numbers may be something to do with the English and maths GCSE requirements. My daughter is an early years apprentice, and her employer told me that she is struggling to get apprentices as many girls who would have been ideal candidates in the past are now excluded from applying as they have to obtain whatever the current required grade is for maths and English. So instead of becoming apprentices, non-academic 16-year-olds spend the next year or two retaking and retaking their maths and English GCSEs.
For lower-middle income families, it still makes financial sense to keep your child in formal education for as long as possible. If your child is in sixth form (even if just retaking GCSEs), you get child benefit, tax credit etc. If your child is an apprentice, you lose your child benefit, tax credit etc and your child has to use all their pay on transport to and from their apprenticeship placement, unless you make the sacrifice.
Apprenticeships as they are at present are not ‘accessible’ to the ‘disadvantaged’, to use the buzzwords.