The raising of the compulsory school leaving age from 16 to 17 in 2013 and then to 18 in 2015 has had a significant impact on training for young people in England, according to official data on apprenticeships and the number of young people classified as not in education, employment or training.
Recent figures from the Department of Education show that the number of apprenticeship starts have risen to 509,400 in 2014/15, up 9,500 over the year and 69,000 over the last two years. The Apprentice Levy, which requires large firms with a paybill of £3 million or more to contribute towards the cost of apprentice schemes, could help this figure grow further.
The other positive effect of the policy, which requires young people to stay in full-time education, start an apprenticeship or traineeship, or work at least 20 hours a week whilst participating in part-time education or training until aged 18, has been a reduction in the number of young people classified as ‘not in education, employment or training’ (NEETs).
Data from the Office for National Statistics shows that the number of NEETs has declined significantly, not only for those directly affected (down 52,000 since 2012, but also for young people aged 19 to 24 (down 242,000 since 2012).