New figures on further education, work-based learning and Train to Gain published today by the Learning & Skills Council are 'excellent news' for young people and adults attending college or undergoing work-based learning, said skills minister David Lammy.
Success rates in FE colleges across all ages have reached a new high of 78 per cent, up from 77 per cent in 2005/06 and nearly 1.5 times the 1997 figure of 53 per cent.
Key findings include:
* Apprenticeships (for all ages) - The completion rate for apprenticeships in 2006/07 was 63 per cent, an increase of over 20 percentage points since 2004/05 (40 per cent).
* Train to Gain - In its first full year, overall success rates for Train to Gain were 60 per cent.
* Skills for Life (all ages) - In 2006/07, 607,000 working-age adults achieved Skills for Life (SFL) qualifications, a 6 per cent increase on 2005/06.
Skills Minister David Lammy commented: "Today's figures show success rates are high and continue to improve to meet the demanding targets Ministers have set.
"These welcome results are clear evidence of the benefits of focusing on quality and standards. Many excellent colleges and learning providers are improving their teaching and are seeing those improvements reflected in the success rates of their learners. I congratulate the learners, teachers, colleges and training providers on this great achievement.
"Getting people into the right level of learning improves their employment and income prospects and benefits their families, communities and the wider economy."
Other key findings include:
* Adult (19+) Level 2 - The adult full level 2 FE success rate was 69 per cent in 2006/07, up from 60 per cent in 2004/05.
* Adult (19+) Level 3 - The 2006/7 full level 3 adult success rate in FE was 66 per cent, up from 56 per cent in 2004/05.
* Young People (16-18) - The success rate for young people taking full level 2 qualifications in FE was 70 per cent in 2006/07, up from 62 per cent in 2004/05. The increases in success rates for full level 2 and level 3 courses (broadly equivalent to five GCSEs and two A-levels respectively), and framework completion rates for apprenticeships show that these routes are providing good opportunities for learners with low prior attainment, said the LSC. The government is also working to ensure that the number of young people participating in learning continues to increase so this translates into attainment and success, it said.
Jim Knight, minister for schools and learners, said:
"This is great news and bodes well for raising the participation age to 18 where every young person will be taking some form of recognised training or education.
"There has never been so much choice available and the days of separating people into two blunt groups of academic and vocational learners are thankfully behind us. Qualifications today offer the best of both worlds helping every young person to find a way of learning that suits them.
"The new Diplomas that start this year will be a key part of this and with the continued backing of industry I'm certain they will become one of the major qualifications of choice."
Verity Bullough, national director of funding, planning and performance for the LSC welcomed the statistical first release, and said: "In 2006/07, over a quarter a million of adults achieved qualifications at Level 2 or equivalent and almost 100,000 more achieving Level 3s. This gives us an excellent base on which to build in the next two years as our targets become even more challenging."