The number of people starting apprenticeships has fallen sharply in Brighton and Hove in line with the national trend.
In the last quarter of the past academic year – from May to July – the number of “apprenticeship starts” in Brighton and Hove was 140.
This was a fall of 61 per cent on the same period in 2016. The fall for England for the same period was 59 per cent to 51,100.
Some commentators blamed the fall on the introduction of the apprenticeship levy on large employers.
In the previous quarter 520 people started an apprenticeship in Brighton and Hove – up 27 per cent on the figure for February to April 2016.
Similarly there was a big rise in the national figure to 179,100.
A number of employers appeared to have ensured apprentices were taken on before the levy came into force, along with other changes to the training on offer.
Paul Mitchell, executive director of the Sussex Council of Training Providers, said: “The number of apprenticeship starts fell in Brighton and Hove in the final quarter of the 2016-17 academic year just as they did nationally – and for much the same reasons.
“But don’t be put off by the latest figures. They’re skewed and don’t represent the bigger picture’.
“There was a big rise in the number of people starting apprenticeships in the previous quarter as quite a few employers brought things forward ahead of the recent changes to the rules around funding – and the changes to training content.
“This is a transition period where it is understandable for apprenticeship starts to fall slightly and there are still some issues to be resolved but apprenticeships remain great value for employers and still offer great opportunities for those looking to earn while they learn.”
The full-year figure for Brighton and Hove – 1,430 apprenticeship starts – was down 8.9 per cent.
Nationally the 2016-17 total of 485,500 amounted to a 4 per cent fall.