22 weeks after the start of ‘lockdown’: latest update on the impact of COVID-19 on Higher & Degree Apprenticeship vacancies in England

Headlines

The latest week in my ongoing survey saw 89 new higher and degree apprenticeship vacancies posted, comprising 51 DAs and 38 HAs. 40 of the DAs were all for Chartered Surveyors with the Valuation Office Agency, but these were dispersed quite widely around England and helped to keep my regional analysis looking fairly healthy and quite widespread. It’s hard to judge how promising or otherwise these figures are, but at least the overall numbers have been reasonably steady and the trend marginally improving.   

Background

Since ‘lockdown’ started on Monday 23rd March 2020, I’ve been keeping a record of all new higher and degree apprenticeship vacancies posted in England on the government ‘Find an apprenticeship’ website, excluding any that I would perceive as inappropriate for any 18/19-year-old school or college leaver. Each week I compare the data with the corresponding number of weeks pre-lockdown, whilst also building up an occupational and regional analysis. It’s not exactly comparing like with like, neither are all vacancies posted on the government site, so my reports will never be fully representative. However, the overall picture it provides continues to act as an increasingly helpful guidance tool.

Headline stats

During the latest week, from 17th to 21st August, I recorded:

  • 51 new degree apprenticeship vacancies and
  • 38 new higher apprenticeship vacancies

The overall comparison pre- and post-lockdown now looks like this:

  • In the 22 weeks prior to lockdown (21st October to 20th March) I recorded: 2,589 new degree apprenticeships and 1,549 new higher apprenticeships, giving a total of 4,138 and an average of 188 new vacancies each week.
  • In the 22 weeks since the start of lockdown (23rd March to 21st August) I have recorded: 647 new degree apprenticeships and 588 new higher apprenticeships, giving a total of 1,235 and an average of 56 new vacancies each week.

This represents a 70.2% reduction in vacancies post-lockdown compared with pre-lockdown. However, given that the reduction figure was hovering consistently around 77% up to a couple of months ago, the overall trend is slowly improving and the gap is narrowing, albeit gradually.

Updated regional analysis

The 1,235 higher and degree apprenticeships advertised in England since the start of lockdown have been distributed as follows, with every county being represented:

  • Yorkshire (224)
  • Greater London (220)
  • Greater Manchester (58)
  • Hertfordshire (53)
  • Surrey (51)
  • West Midlands (50)
  • Essex (49)
  • Hampshire (47)
  • Gloucestershire (45)
  • Cheshire (34)
  • Berkshire (30)
  • Nottinghamshire (27)
  • Suffolk (27)
  • Devon (27)
  • Merseyside (25)
  • Tyne & Wear (24)
  • Sussex (20)
  • Lancashire (17)
  • Cambridgeshire (17)
  • Kent (17)
  • Durham (14)
  • Warwickshire (13)
  • Oxfordshire (13)
  • Derbyshire (12)
  • Norfolk (12)
  • Bedfordshire (12)
  • Somerset (12)
  • Staffordshire (11)
  • Leicestershire (11)
  • Buckinghamshire (9)
  • Northamptonshire (8)
  • Worcestershire (7)
  • Cumbria (6)
  • Shropshire (6)
  • Lincolnshire (5)
  • Dorset (5)
  • Cornwall (4)
  • Northumberland (3)
  • Herefordshire (2)
  • Wiltshire (2)
  • Not specified (6)

This is how those stats add up regionally. In brackets I’ve added the total population of each region in millions, which gives a sense of proportion to the apprenticeship figures. For example, in population terms the North East is by far the smallest region, so the divergence in apprenticeship numbers isn’t as stark as it first appears.

  • 224 Yorkshire & Humber (5.4)
  • 220 London (8.9)
  • 187 South East (9.1)
  • 170 East of England (6.2)
  • 140 North West (7.3)
  •   95 South West (5.6)
  •   89 West Midlands (5.9)
  •   63 East Midlands (4.8)
  •   41 North East (2.7)
  •     6 Not specified

Updated occupational analysis

Each week I update my occupational analysis by breaking down the new vacancies into what I loosely term ‘occupational areas’, which in some cases differ slightly from the official apprenticeship standards terminology. Since lockdown, the complete lists of occupational areas represented in each category are now as follows:

Degree & Level 7 apprenticeships:

In total there have been 647 new vacancies spread across 37 occupational areas and minimum starting salaries have ranged from £7,830 to £27,665pa.  

150 Police Constables

109 Digital Technology Solutions*

  50 Chartered Building/Property/Valuation Surveyors

  42 Accountants or Tax Specialists

  29 Civil Engineers

  29 Financial Services

  28 Electrical/Electronic Engineers

  26 Chartered Management (general)

  22 Data Scientists & Analysts

  16 Retail Management

  15 Control Engineers

  14 Healthcare Science Practitioners*

  12 Chartered Quantity Surveyors

  12 Sales Professionals

  10 Adult Nursing      

    9 Broadcast & Media Systems Engineers

    7 Digital User Experience (UX) Professionals

    7 Laboratory Scientists

    6 Building Services Design Engineers

    5 Food Technologists/Engineers

    6 Town Planners

    5 Chemical Engineers

    5 Manufacturing Engineers

    5 Packaging Technologists

    4 Digital Marketing

    3 Cyber Security Technologists

    3 Environmental Health Officers

    3 Environmental Practitioners

    3 Mechanical, Product Design & Development Engineers

    2 Building Control Surveyors

    2 Materials Scientists

    2 Supply Chain Leadership

    1 Geospatial Mapping Surveyor

    1 Marketing Management

    1 Podiatrist

    1 Solicitor

    1 Visual Merchandiser

*Digital Technology Solutions has encompassed Software Engineers, Software Developers, Network Engineers, Data Analysts, Cyber Security, IT Business Analysts, Business Intelligence, Infrastructure Specialists, IT Technical Support Professionals and BIM (Building Information Modelling).

*Healthcare Science Practitioners has encompassed Cardiac Physiology, Neurophysiology, Biomedical Science, Radiation Engineering, and Digital Healthcare.

Higher apprenticeships:

In total there have been 588 new vacancies spread across 47 occupational areas and minimum starting salaries have ranged from £6,474 to £29,000pa.

106 Software Developers

  49 Data Analysts

  37 Manufacturing Engineering Technicians 

  31 Sales Executives

  30 Project Management

  29 Accounting Technicians

  27 Network Engineers

  24 Regulatory Compliance Officers

  22 Science Laboratory Technicians

  20 Cyber Security Technologists

  19 Policy Officers

  16 Buying & Merchandising (Fashion/Homewares)

  16 Commercial Procurement & Supply Chain

  15 Software Testers 

  12 Broadcast & Media Systems Technician

  12 Electrical/Electronic Engineering Technicians

  11 Information Systems Business Analysts

  11 Mental Health Nursing Associates

  10 Adult Nursing Associates

  10 Building Services Engineering Technicians

    9 Children, Young People & Family Practitioners

    9 Investment Consultants

    7 Public Relations & Communications

    5 Insurance Professionals

    4 Construction Site Supervisors

    4 Financial Paraplanners/Advisers

    4 Junior Management Consultants

    4 Quantity Surveying Technicians

    3 Food Technologists/Engineers

    3 Hospitality Management

    3 Housing/Property Management

    3 Human Resources Practitioners

    3 Tax Technicians

    2 Brewers

    2 Hearing Aid Dispensers

    2 Internal Auditors

    2 Learning & Skills Teachers

    2 Marketing Executives

    1 Civil Engineering Technician

    1 DevOps Engineer

    1 IT Support Professional

    1 Learning & Development Practitioner

    1 Operations Management

    1 Passenger Transport Management

    1 Revenue & Benefits Officer

    1 Retail Management

    1 Social Care Leader

    1 Wedding Accessories Designer

Going forward

Look out for another update next week!

© Alan Bullock, 24/8/2020

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