30 weeks after the start of ‘lockdown’: Higher & Degree Apprenticeship vacancies in England continue to bounce back

Headline news

The positive trend continued in Week 30, albeit partially helped by a small adjustment to my previous data.     

Background

Since ‘lockdown’ started on Monday 23rd March 2020 I have kept a record of all new higher and degree apprenticeship vacancies posted in England, largely but not exclusively using the government’s ‘Find an apprenticeship’ website. I exclude any vacancies that I would consider wholly unsuitable for an 18/19-year-old school or college leaver. I’ve been collating similar data since Autumn 2018, so each week I compare the post-lockdown data with the corresponding number of weeks pre-lockdown, whilst also building up occupational and regional analyses.

When recording multiple vacances posted by some of the larger employers, I do now use an element of editorial licence. In some cases precise information on numbers and locations is made available, whereas in other cases I use educated estimates based on data and patterns I have noted in previous years. Therefore, the figures I present each week will never be 100% accurate. However, the broad trends and occupational and regional breakdowns still provide some quite powerful LMI that I find immensely useful in guidance and I know some colleagues do too.    

Headline stats (following an upward adjustment to my previous post-lockdown data):

During the latest week, from 12th to 16th October, I recorded:

  • 109 new Degree & Level 7 Apprenticeship vacancies and
  • 106 new Higher Apprenticeship vacancies

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

  • In the 30 weeks prior to lockdown (26th August 2019 to 20th March 2020) I recorded 3,493 new Degree & Level 7 Apprenticeships and 1,933 new Higher Apprenticeships, giving a total of 5,426 and an average of 181 new vacancies each week.
  • In the 30 weeks since the start of lockdown (23rd March to 16th October 2020) I have recorded 1,531 new Degree & Level 7 Apprenticeships and 1,488 new Higher Apprenticeships, giving a total of 3,019 and an average of 101 new vacancies each week.  

This represents a 44.4% reduction in vacancies post-lockdown compared with pre-lockdown. However, that’s a considerable improvement on the situation that prevailed throughout the summer and the recent upswing has been sustained.

Updated regional analysis

The 3,019 higher and degree apprenticeships advertised in England since the start of lockdown have been distributed as follows, with every county being represented:

  • Greater London (751)
  • Yorkshire (405)
  • Greater Manchester (171)
  • Hampshire (148)
  • West Midlands (144)
  • Gloucestershire (105)
  • Essex (84)
  • Merseyside (74)
  • Berkshire (74)
  • Surrey (70)
  • Dorset (70)
  • Lancashire (67)
  • Hertfordshire (64)
  • Sussex (63)
  • County Durham (60)
  • Wiltshire (58)
  • Tyne & Wear (56)
  • Cambridgeshire (46)
  • Nottinghamshire (45)
  • Warwickshire (45)
  • Cheshire (44)
  • Northamptonshire (42)
  • Suffolk (38)
  • Devon (38)
  • Kent (34)
  • Leicestershire (26)
  • Buckinghamshire (25)
  • Staffordshire (23)
  • Norfolk (23)
  • Somerset (21)
  • Derbyshire (17)
  • Oxfordshire (16)
  • Bedfordshire (16)
  • Lincolnshire (12)
  • Worcestershire (12)
  • Shropshire (10)
  • Cumbria (7)
  • Cornwall (4)
  • Northumberland (3)
  • Herefordshire (2)
  • Isle of Wight (0)
  • 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 is not as disproportionate as it might appear.

  • 751 London (8.9)
  • 430 South East (9.1)
  • 405 Yorkshire & Humber (5.4)
  • 363 North West (7.3)
  • 296 South West (5.6)
  • 271 East of England (6.2)
  • 236 West Midlands (5.9)
  • 142 East Midlands (4.8)
  • 119 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 given below. In my view, this provides a fascinating insight into what the emerging occupations are in a changing landscape.

Degree & Level 7 Apprenticeships:

In total there have been 1,531 new vacancies spread across 48 occupational areas and minimum starting salaries have ranged from £6,474 to £30,000pa.  

392 Digital Technology Solutions (general) (*see below for details)

325 Police Constables

162 Accountancy or Tax Specialists

  83 Chartered Management (general)

  61 Chartered Building/Property/Valuation Surveyors

  48 Design & Development Engineers

  36 Civil Engineers

  34 Cyber Security Analysts

  31 Retail Management

  30 Electrical/Electronic Engineers

  29 Financial Services 

  26 Data Scientists & Analysts

  25 Construction Management

  18 Logistics & Supply Chain Leaders

  17 Chartered Quantity Surveyors 

  16 Digital Marketing Professionals

  15 Control Engineers

  15 Manufacturing/Production Management        

  14 Healthcare Science Practitioners (*see below for details)

  14 Sales Professionals

  12 Laboratory Scientists

  11 Digital User Experience (UX) Professionals

  10 Adult Nursing 

  10 Economists

    9 Broadcast & Media Systems Engineers

    8 Food Technologists/Engineers

    8 Project Management

    6 Aerospace Engineers

    6 Building Services Design Engineers

    6 Environmental Health Officers

    6 Town Planners

    5 Chemical Engineers

    5 Clinical Trials Specialists

    5 Manufacturing Engineers

    5 Packaging Technologists

    4 Environmental Management Practitioners

    4 Human Resources Professionals  

    3 Building Control Surveyors

    3 Compliance & Risk Specialists

    3 Creative Digital Designers   

    2 Automotive Engineering

    2 Marketing Management

    2 Materials Scientists

    1 Geospatial Mapping Surveyor

    1 Ordnance Munitions & Explosives

    1 Podiatrist

    1 Solicitor

    1 Visual Merchandiser

*Digital Technology Solutions has encompassed the following specialisms and in many cases apprentices are able to sample multiple areas:

  • Software Engineering (which is by far the most prominent), Software Developers, Network Engineers, Data Analysts, Cyber Security Technologists, Software Consultants, Business Analysts, Business Intelligence, Infrastructure Specialists, IT Technical Support Professionals, Software Testers, Fintech, Junior Product Manager, Digital Transformation Engineer, Building Information Modeller (BIM).

*Healthcare Science Practitioners has encompassed the following specialisms:

  • Cardiac Physiology, Neurophysiology, Biomedical Science, Radiation Engineering, Digital Healthcare.

Higher Apprenticeships:

In total there have been 1,488 new vacancies spread across 52 occupational areas and minimum starting salaries have ranged from £6,474 to £30,000pa (exactly the same salary range as DAs).

199 Software Developers 

169 Trainee Accountants / Accounting Technicians

115 Project Management Associates

115 Sales Executives

  80 Data Analysts

  78 Policy Officers

  70 Investment Operations

  68 Nursing Associates

  60 Tax Technicians  

  56 Software Testers 

  46 Manufacturing Engineering Technicians 

  46 Network Engineers

  34 Junior Management Consultants

  34 Regulatory Compliance & Trading Standards Officers

  29 Technician Scientists

  28 Commercial Buyers & Supply Chain Specialists

  27 Cyber Security Technologists

  24 Business Analysts 

  23 Children, Young People & Family Practitioners

  17 Buying & Merchandising (Fashion/Homewares)

  16 Public Relations & Communications  

  15 Electrical/Electronic Engineering Technicians

  12 Broadcast & Media Systems Technicians

  12 Building Services Engineering Technicians

    9 Digital Marketing Executives

    9 Investment Consultants

    8 Quantity Surveying Technicians

    7 Construction Site Technicians

    7 Housing & Property Management

    7 Human Resources Practitioners

    6 Brewers

    6 Insurance Professionals

    5 Formula One Automotive Engineering Technicians

    5 Internal Auditors

    4 DevOps Engineers

    4 Financial Paraplanners/Advisers

    4 Food Technologists

    4 Learning & Skills Teachers 

    4 Social Care Leaders

    3 Construction Design & Build Technicians

    3 Hearing Aid Dispensers

    3 Hospitality Management

    3 Learning & Development Practitioners   

    3 Operations Management   

    2 Marketing Executives

    2 Retail Management

    2 Tax Technology Technicians

    1 Civil Engineering Technician

    1 Passenger Transport Management

    1 Revenue & Benefits Officer    

    1 Sports Development Officer   

    1 Wedding Accessories Designer

Going forward

All being well, there will be a further update next week.

© Alan Bullock, 18/10/2020

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