Basic apprenticeships fell 12% last year and advanced apprenticeships slipped 4% according to government figures
The number of young people taking apprenticeships declined last year, according to figures released by the Department of Education and Skills.
The number of basic apprenticeships suffered a 12% fall from 159,500 in January 2006 to 140,100 in January this year.
Advanced apprenticeships fell by 4% from 100,400 to 96,200. The higher-level apprenticeships have declined by 53% since January 2001.
The report also revealed that engineering and manufacturing technology is the most popular area of work-based learning, accounting for 25% of all apprenticeships.
Apprenticeships in construction, planning and the built environment accounted for 16% of the total number.
A green paper released by the DfES last week revealed the department is aiming to provide apprenticeships for every young person that wants one by 2013.