The participation of local areas (POLAR) classification system groups areas across the UK based on the proportion of the young population that participates in higher education. For this analysis, we’ve used ‘POLAR4’ to compare young entrants to apprenticeships with young entrants to higher education.
Just over half (54 per cent) of young degree apprenticeship entrants are from areas with high educational advantage (POLAR4 quintiles 4 and 5), whereas only 30 per cent of entrants are from underrepresented areas (POLAR4 quintiles 1 and 2).
This pattern varies by level of apprenticeship. Young people starting intermediate level apprenticeships are more likely to be from areas underrepresented in higher education (50 per cent from quintiles 1 and 2), than those starting advanced apprenticeships (43 per cent), and those starting level 4 and 5 apprenticeships (35 per cent).
The lowest proportion of apprenticeship starts from POLAR4 quintiles 1 and 2 is the degree level group (30 per cent).
Relative to the comparator groups, young degree apprenticeship entrants were from a similar distribution of POLAR4 areas to both the young part-time and full-time entrant groups.
There were 30 per cent of entrants from lower participation areas (quintiles 1 and 2) for both the young part-time higher education group and young degree apprenticeships, while the young full-time higher education group had a slightly lower proportion (26 per cent).
Mature entrants represent around half of the entrants to degree apprenticeships. To assess participation across all age groups we use a different measure of disadvantage called the index of multiple deprivation (IMD). This is a measure of multiple deprivation of small areas in England.
For entrants to degree apprenticeships, the proportions of entrants across IMD quintiles were consistent with the pattern identified for young entrants across POLAR4 quintiles. In 2016-17, 50 per cent of degree apprenticeship entrants were from areas of lower deprivation (IMD quintiles 4 and 5) compared to 29 per cent from areas of higher deprivation (IMD quintiles 1 and 2).
The proportion of entrants from areas of higher deprivation (IMD quintiles 1 and 2) decreases as the level of apprenticeship increases. The proportion for degree apprentice entrants from these areas (29 per cent) is much lower than the proportion of entrants for intermediate (50 per cent), advanced (46 per cent) and level 4 and 5 (44 per cent) apprenticeships.
Relative to both the full-time and part-time comparator groups, degree apprenticeships have the lowest proportion of entrants from areas with higher deprivation.
Amongst entrants to degree apprenticeships in 2016-17, 29 per cent were from higher deprivation areas (IMD quintiles 1 and 2). In comparison, 38 per cent of the part-time higher education group and 46 per cent of the full-time higher education group were from similar areas (IMD quintiles 1 and 2).
See notes about the data