Record applications for Apprenticeships across the UK

A record 11 applications are being made for each apprenticeship vacancy in the UK, the latest official data suggests.  Almost 370,000 applications were submitted between February and April, while 32,600 vacancies were advertised in the same period. But competition was as high as 17 per place in the arts, media and ICT.

The National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) said there had been a 32% increase in demand for such subsidised on-the-job training placements since last year. However, vacancies have not kept pace with rising demand, going up only 15% over the same period in the previous year. The number of applications per vacancy went above 11 for the first time, although it had been hovering around 10 for some time, according to the NAS. Nonetheless, the NAS said there were 17,700 available vacancies online late last month, the highest on record.

The most popular area for apprenticeships was business and administration, with 101,510 applications made and 7,702 vacancies posted online. But those seeking apprenticeships in the arts, publishing, media and ICT face the stiffest competition with 17 applications per vacancy.

Skills Minister Matthew Hancock said apprenticeships were fast becoming the norm for young people who want to achieve their career goals through an alternative route to university. But he appealed to more businesses to offer young people a chance to train in their companies.

He said: “We want more employers to take advantage of the advice and support available from the National Apprenticeship Service and consider how hiring an apprentice could benefit their business.”

NAS executive director David Way said the figures demonstrated that the popularity of apprenticeships continued to rise and in a greater range of occupations than before.

The increase in vacancies shows that more and more individuals are seeing apprenticeships as a great way to start out in their chosen career.”

Government offers small and medium-sized companies grants of £1,500 to take on a 16 to 24-year-old as an apprentice. After moves to strengthen apprenticeships, they all now have to meet centrally specified standards and last at least a year. The changes came following the government-commissioned Richard review, which said the definition of apprenticeship had been “stretched too far” and needed to be rethought.

Vacancies advertised on the NAS database account for 80% of all UK vacancies.

Source: Extract from “Apprenticeships attract 11 applications per vacancy”, Hannah Richardson, BBC News, 31 May 2013

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