The number of IT apprenticeships has fallen 2.7 percent despite the government's efforts to promote the route into the sector.
Prime minister David Cameron recently announced new, tougher apprenticeship schemes that will be provided by major IT companies such as Accenture, BT and Microsoft. It is hoped that the employer involvement will make them more relevant to industry.
According to figures from The Data Service, part of the government's Skills Funding Agency, there were 25,920 apprenticeships in ICT in 2012/13, 710 less than in 2011/12 (26,630). Conversely, there was an increase in apprenticeships across all sectors, with 868,700 people on an apprenticeship this year compared to 806,500 in 2011/12.
However, sector skills council e-skills UK does not believe the ICT figures tell the whole story.
Karen Price, CEO of e-skills UK, said: "Employers are collaborating to increase uptake through high quality apprenticeships that really meet their needs. With a particular focus on higher level skills and longer programmes, we are seeing very significant increases in the number of higher apprenticeships."
"As of today, approaching 700 IT higher apprentices have been through or are on programmes developed with our support, whereas just a couple of years ago there were almost no higher apprenticeships in IT."
She added: "We are also helping employers to create new apprenticeships in areas such a cyber security and digital TV broadcasting, which are receiving a great deal of interest."
E-skills UK has also partnered with BT and the National IT Partnership for IT apprenticeships (NiTP), to pilot a Gold Standard Apprenticeship, which is also available to SMEs.
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