Young women at computer

Apprenticeships: an un-level playing field

Date published: 
16 January 2017

Key facts

  • Since 2010 over 140,000 young Londoners between 16 and 24 started an apprenticeship. The majority of apprenticeship starts are women and around 40 per cent are people from Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds.
  • However, there is evidence that apprentices from BAME backgrounds are not getting the full benefit of apprenticeship training. BAME and female apprentices tend to be clustered in low level, low pay apprenticeships.
  • Worryingly, more than a quarter of all apprentices fail to finish their training. Achievement rates are declining more quickly for BAME apprentices.
  • London needs more highly skilled apprentices. In 2015-16 just 2,720 higher apprenticeships were started in London (about six per cent of all apprenticeship starts).
  • London is the worst performing region for apprentices in the construction sector and in 2014 there were no women taking a higher level apprenticeship in either construction or engineering.
  • Despite its growing importance to the London economy the tech sector was the second worst sector for providing apprenticeships in the capital. 

The London Assembly Economy Committee has published its report, ‘Apprenticeships: an un-level playing field’, which sets out a number of key recommendations to the Mayor to help improve the number of quality apprenticeships in London.


  • The Mayor should avoid setting a purely numerical target for apprenticeships, but instead focus on quality rather than quantity.
  • The Mayor should direct the London Economic Action Partnership (LEAP) to publish annual, London-specific data, which includes the number of apprenticeship starts with success rates broken down by gender, ethnicity, disability, age, sector and qualification.
  • The Mayor should guarantee a fair skills funding settlement for London and establish what role apprenticeships can play in closing the long-term skills gap.
  • The Mayor should push for an independent careers advice service in London, which encourages young people into the right vocational training in terms of the skills gap.

You can download the report below.

Follow us @LondonAssembly to hear more. Please share the report with #AssemblyEconomy and #Apprenticeships.

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