10 weeks after the start of ‘lockdown’: Higher & Degree Apprenticeships and the impact of COVID-19


These are my latest reflections on the impact COVID-19 has had on new higher and degree apprenticeship vacancies. It’s an update to the blogs I posted on 19th and 26th May.

The headline is that there has been a further downturn, although there is some cause for optimism. During the week of 25th to 29th May I recorded 10 new Degree Apprenticeship vacancies and 22 new Higher Apprenticeship vacancies in England.


In the 10 weeks immediately prior to ‘lockdown’ (13th January to 20th March) I recorded:

  • 1,004 new degree apprenticeships and 811 new higher apprenticeships giving a total of 1,815 and an average of 182 new vacancies each week.

In the 10 weeks since the start of lockdown (23rd March to 29th May) I have recorded:

  • 206 new degree apprenticeships and 165 new higher apprenticeships giving a total of 371 and an average of 37 new vacancies each week.    

This represents an overall reduction of 80% in the number of new vacancies during the last 10 weeks, which is marginally worse than the overall reduction after 9 weeks (78%) and after 8 weeks (77%). However, last week was Spring Bank Holiday week, during which I would have expected activity to be slower, and I’m optimistic that we might see an improvement on this next week.  

Updated ‘league tables’

I have also updated my league tables in which I record the number of new vacancies in England broken down by what I loosely term ‘occupational areas’, which I find more useful in guidance than strictly adhering to the names of different  apprenticeship standards.

Since the ‘lockdown’ date of 23/3/20, the occupational areas represented in each category are now as follows (starting with the highest):

Degree apprenticeships

In total 25 occupational areas are represented so far and minimum starting salaries still range from £8,092 to £25,065pa.   

1st Digital Technology Solutions* (current total – 50)

2nd Accountancy & Taxation

3rd Financial Services

4th Chartered Management

5th Control Engineers

6th Data Scientists & Analysts

7th Broadcast & Media Systems Engineers

8th Chemical Engineers

9th Building, Property & Valuation Surveyors

10th Building Services Design Engineers

10th Civil Engineers

10th Food Technologists

10th Mechanical, Product Design & Development Engineers

10th Packaging Technologists

15th Electronic Engineers

15th Materials Scientists

15th Quantity Surveyors

18th Business to Business Sales Executive

18th Cyber Security Technologist

18th Environmental Practitioner

18th Environmental Health Practitioner

18th Laboratory Scientist

18th Marketing Management

18th Supply Chain Leadership

18th User Experience (UX) Professional

*Digital Technology Solutions covers a range of specific fields such as Software Engineering, Network Engineering, Data Analytics, Cyber Security, Infrastructure Engineering or BIM (Building Information Modelling).

Higher apprenticeships:

In total 27 occupational areas are represented so far and minimum starting salaries still range from £6,474 to £29,000pa.

1st Software Developers (current total – 29)

2nd Project Management

2nd Science Laboratory Technicians

4th Data Analysts

5th Broadcast & Media Systems Technicians

5th Manufacturing Engineering Technicians

7th Investment Consultants

8th Electrical Power Distribution

9th Accountancy & Taxation

10th Information Systems Business Analysts

10th Network Engineers

10th Software Testers

13th Buying, Procurement & Supply Chain

14th Cyber Security Officers

14th Policy Officers

16th HR/Learning & Development/Employability Practitioners

16th Insurance Professionals

16th Paraplanners

16th Sales Executives

20th Children, Young People & Family Practitioner

20th Hospitality Management

20th IT Support Professional  

20th Learning & Skills Teacher

20th Public Relations 

20th Quantity Surveying Technician

20th Regulatory Compliance Officer

20th Revenue & Benefits Officer

Going forward

I will continue to observe how it pans out this week and I aim to post another update next Monday. In particular I expect to see degree apprenticeships in Policing represented for the first time, as I’m aware of at least one police force that has just opened recruitment. (Please note that the reference above to a higher apprenticeship for a Policy Officer isn’t a typo, it does mean Policy not Police.)

Watch this space for further updates.

© Alan Bullock, 1/6/2020

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