It now looks highly unlikely that the Government will hit its target of creating 3 million new apprenticeships by 2020.
The National Audit Office admitted as much in its latest review of the scheme and added that the Government still had some way to go before it showed the scheme was value for money.
Changes to the Apprenticeship Levy - the system which helps fund the scheme - have seen the number of start-ups fall in the last two years from 509,400 a year to 375,800, a fall of just over one quarter.
So, do apprenticeships still represent a viable career choice for our youngsters - or are they more trouble than they are worth?
The answer, as ever, is not entirely straightforward.
As the modern scheme becomes more embedded in the workplace, the breadth and range of apprenticeships continues to grow. They are now available in virtually every sector you can think of with new programmes being created all the time.
So, if you are considering a career in media, engineering, health, social care, law or any of a range of sectors, there will probably be an apprenticeship which fits your bill.
They are also pretty flexible and come in a range of shapes and styles. Intermediate apprenticeships are considered equivalent to five GCSE passes, the advanced apprenticeships are comparable to two A-levels and higher apprenticeships are regarded as on the same level as a foundation, or more advanced degree. There are even degree apprenticeships, which lead to a bachelor’s or master’s degree.
The great advantage compared to university is, of course, that you earn as you learn.
The national minimum wage for individuals between the ages of 16-18 and aged 19 and within their first year of apprenticeship is £2.68 - with employers urged to make this up to £150 a week where possible.
They can also offer a great start to a new career. Figures show that employers are more likely to promote youngsters who joined them on an apprenticeship compared to their peers, rewarding their loyalty and dedication to improving their skills. Add to that the fact that you are exposed to real-life work in real-life workplaces and get the chance to acquire relevant, industry-focussed skills, and the benefits start to mount.
And there is plenty of support on offer. The scheme is set up so that apprentices receive a high level of support and guidance and the individual’s needs and requirements are met.
But of course there also disadvantages. The pay is not great and by choosing a career so early in your working life you could find yourself limiting your options later on. And you are also exposed to all the pressures that everybody else in the workplace experiences, but which your friends in higher or further education don’t necessarily face.
So, the message is that apprenticeships won’t be for everybody. But then again, nothing in life is.