Popularity of apprenticeships continues to rise

Figures released earlier this year have shown that apprenticeships continue to be hugely popular among school leavers. Some 370,000 applications for these types of positions were handed in between February and April 2013.

This represents growth of 32 per cent year-on-year and with the huge financial incentives on offer for people looking to earn while they learn, it is little wonder more 16, 17 and 18-year-olds are shunning college or the traditional employment market and choosing to go into a paid apprenticeship.

Over 32,600 vacancies were advertised online between February and April 2013 and this was also an increase over 2012 levels, while on April 26th, there were 17,700 live vacancies open to school leavers online – the highest since records began.

“More vacancies than ever before”

Matthew Hancock, the skills minister in charge of apprenticeships, said: “With more vacancies than ever before, apprenticeships are fast becoming the norm for young people who want to achieve their career goals through an alternative route to university.”

“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.”

These views are backed up by entrepreneur and author of a recent review into skills and pay Jason Holt, who commented: “It is vital that we do more to demonstrate how all employers can grow their own workforce through apprenticeships. For smaller businesses, this is even more crucial as apprentices help improve productivity while reducing costs.”

Top five apprenticeship choices

But while people might traditionally think of apprenticeships as being for builders, plumbers and other manual workers this is often not actually the case.

Government research shows business and administration courses were the most popular of all in the UK, with 101,510 applications made in this category between February and April 2013. This was followed by children and nursery care (29,020), customer service (26,200), IT and telecommunications (20,550) and vehicular maintenance and repair.

But isn’t finding these apprenticeships difficult? Doesn’t it become something of a chore to go through endless company websites just looking for an open position? Not anymore. Positive Outcomes is a government-backed website that helps school leavers aged between 16 and 18 find the right paid position for them.

Positive Outcomes is different from its competition because it focuses on professional qualifications in IT, business and other office-based disciplines, meaning three of the top five most popular apprenticeship categories are all covered under its remit.

Competition for places

But even though more and more vacancies are put online everyday by employers, the huge spike in demand for apprenticeships has made competition for places more fierce – meaning only the hungriest, best entrants are getting through.