Almost a third of people who take on apprenticeships in the UK failed to complete them, an analysis of government data by the Financial Times has suggested.
Studies of official spreadsheets by the newspaper also found the numbers were apparently worsening.
The research raised questions about the government's flagship policy to create three million apprenticeships by 2020.
The 2013/14 completion rate was 68.9%, after declining “steadily” from 76.4% in 2010/11, the FT reported.
In October 2015, a damning report from Ofsted argued that the value of apprenticeships in the UK was being cheapened poor training provision and a lack of collaboration between providers and employers.
The report said inspectors had observed apprentices in the food production, retail and care sectors who were simply completing their apprenticeship by having existing low-level skills – such as making coffee, serving sandwiches or cleaning floors – accredited.