There should be more support for young people to find entry-level apprenticeships in sports coaching.
A nationwide charity, Coach Core, says that there has been a significant decline in the number of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds taking up apprenticeships, which can be a vital route into education and employment when others have closed.
Recent government figures show that, despite apprenticeship starts in England rising 7 per cent in the first quarter of 2023-24 (when compare to the year before), entry-level intermediate apprenticeship starts have declined by 2.5%.
According to Coach Core, this is part of a “concerning trend”, which has seen the number of people starting entry-level apprenticeships fall by 74% since 2015/16 – from 291,300 to 76,300.
“The decline across all apprenticeship levels has been felt hardest by those living in the most deprived postcodes, who have seen an 18% drop in apprenticeship starts, vs just 2% for the least deprived (since 2017-18),” says Paul Thompson, Director of People and Learning at Coach Core.
“We believe that apprenticeships are an effective tool to ensure opportunities for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.
“Estimates from the Social Mobility Commission show that disadvantaged female learners with an entry-level apprenticeship qualification earn 11.6% more at age 28, compared to individuals holding a different qualification at the same level.
“Apprenticeships are a powerful way to empower young people and to create a more diverse workforce.
“Not only do they provide a desperately needed opportunity for young people facing barriers to employment, but a more diverse workforce strengthens the organisation, through better community engagement, improved decision making and increased employee retention.
“We’re concerned about the long-term impact on young people who traditionally may experience barriers, discrimination, and lack of opportunities when this bottom rung of the ladder isn’t available.”