THE number of people starting an apprenticeship in York has fallen.

And a City of York Council report says the drop is significant because apprenticeships and the skills they teach are an asset to the city's economy.

The number of apprentices fell by nearly a quarter across the Leeds city region in the last year according to the report - with a 20 per cent drop in people starting apprenticeships in York between 2017 and 2018.

It says: "This fall is significant because it is undermining the role of high-skills educational courses outside of university which puts more pressure on universities to deliver the skills that apprenticeships may be better able to provide."

Councillors will be invited to "identify cost effective ways to encourage an increase in the number of apprenticeship starts in York."

In 2018 1,150 people started apprenticeships in the city - down by 570 from 2016.

And last year 460 apprentices were aged over 25.

The apprenticeship levy sees about 50 employers in York with annual pay bills of more than £3m pay a tax of 0.5% of their total pay bill towards apprentice training.

But if the cash is not used in two years - it goes back to central government.

The report says some companies find it is difficult to use the money for the training they need for their future employees.

The report adds: "York St John University does offer degree-level apprenticeships in business, medical science and data science which suggests that the growth of universities’ intake may not be a factor in the decline of apprenticeships.

"Indeed, the University of York is also in the process of recruiting apprentices due to its enrolment in the apprenticeship levy."

Councillors will decide whether to do a review into apprenticeships in the city at a meeting on Monday.