59 weeks after the start of lockdown: Higher & Degree Apprenticeship vacancies in England doing nicely

Headline news and latest reflections

Once again there has been plenty of activity in the past week, especially in London and the East of England, East Midlands and South West. I recorded 172 new vacancies across 38 different occupational areas and prominent employers included HM Treasury (15 Policy Officer HAs), Salesforce.com (15 Digital Technology Solutions DAs) and Smith & Williamson (14 Accountancy/Tax DAs).

Another little highlight was the appearance of five more Schools Sports Coach HAs based at different primary schools in and around Leicestershire. This has been quite an interesting new development, with a total of 11 new Sports Coach vacancies posted in the last couple of months, all of them based in schools. Six of these have been in Leicester, one each in nearby Coalville, Hinckley and Oakham and a further three in Taunton, Wincanton and Sherborne in Somerset and Dorset. I’m intrigued to see what else might transpire in the weeks ahead.

An added gem in all of this was that the vacancy in Oakham is the first HA or DA posted in the County of Rutland since the start of the pandemic. What’s more, up until this week I hadn’t even realised that Rutland is officially a county again, albeit the smallest in England. Therefore, I’m delighted to have added its solitary vacancy to my regional analysis. During lockdown, moments like these have become some of life’s highlights, sad to say! I’ve resorted to digging out another of my Rutland Water photos for this week’s image.        


Since the first ‘lockdown’ started on Monday 23rd March 2020, I’ve kept a record of all new higher and degree apprenticeship vacancies posted in England. I largely use data extracted every week from the government’s ‘Find an apprenticeship’ website, whilst also keeping an eye on other national vacancy sources. I exclude any vacancies that I consider wholly unsuitable for 18/19-year-olds seeking their first permanent role.

I’ve been compiling similar data since autumn 2018, so each week I compare my post-lockdown data with the corresponding number of weeks pre-lockdown, whilst also building up occupational and regional analyses. When recording multiple vacancies posted by some of the larger employers, I occasionally use an element of editorial licence. I usually record precise information on numbers and locations, but in a few cases I’ve made educated, conservative estimates which I adjust retrospectively if more precise data comes to light.

Therefore, the figures I present each week will never be fully reliable nor will they ever fully compare like with like. However, as the picture develops week on week, the broad trends and occupational and regional breakdowns provide some powerful LMI that’s immensely useful in guidance.

Headline data

During the latest week, from 3rd to 8th May, I recorded:

  • 90 new Degree & Level 7 Apprenticeship vacancies and
  • 82 new Higher Apprenticeship vacancies

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

  • In the 59 weeks prior to lockdown (4th February 2019 to 20th March 2020) I recorded 5,132 new Degree & Level 7 Apprenticeships and 4,122 new Higher Apprenticeships, giving a total of 9,254 and an average of 157 new vacancies each week.
  • In the 59 weeks since the start of lockdown (23rd March 2020 to 8th May 2021) I’ve recorded 4,844 new Degree & Level 7 Apprenticeships and 3,914 new Higher Apprenticeships, giving a total of 8,758 and an average of 148 new vacancies each week.  

This represents a 5.4% reduction in vacancies post-lockdown compared with pre-lockdown, which continues to show an ever-improving trend in comparison to the dire situation that prevailed during the spring and early-summer of 2020 when the reduction reached 80%.

Updated regional analysis

The 8,758 higher and degree apprenticeships advertised in England since the start of lockdown have been distributed as follows:

  • Greater London (1,971)
  • Yorkshire (839)
  • West Midlands (550)
  • Greater Manchester (474)
  • Bristol & Gloucestershire (377)
  • Hampshire (327)
  • Berkshire (319)
  • Hertfordshire (241)
  • Surrey (229)
  • Lancashire (205)
  • Tyne & Wear (199)
  • Nottinghamshire (192)
  • Cambridgeshire (189)
  • Cheshire (186)
  • Suffolk (173)
  • Essex (170)
  • Merseyside (166)
  • Cumbria (143)
  • Sussex (138)
  • Leicestershire (117)
  • Devon (116)
  • Wiltshire (112)
  • Oxfordshire (107)
  • Dorset (107)
  • Kent (105)
  • County Durham (104)
  • Northamptonshire (101)
  • Staffordshire (98)
  • Somerset & South Bristol (98)
  • Buckinghamshire (93)
  • Derbyshire (83)
  • Warwickshire (82)
  • Bedfordshire (78)
  • Norfolk (68)
  • Lincolnshire (54)
  • Worcestershire (43)
  • Shropshire (30)
  • Isle of Wight (29)
  • Cornwall (15)
  • Herefordshire (7)
  • Northumberland (6)
  • Rutland (1)
  • Not specified (16) 

The following list shows how those stats add up regionally. In brackets I’ve included the total population of each region using the latest ONS data rounded to the nearest 1,000, 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 differences in apprenticeship numbers are not as disproportionate as they might appear. As a way of quantifying this a little further, I’ve added an extra stat in bold which indexes the apprenticeship figures against the total population of each region. In effect, the index equals the number of DAs and HAs post-lockdown per 10,000 of total population.

  • 1,971   London (8,962,000: 2.20)
  • 1,347   South East (9,180,000: 1.47)
  • 1,174   North West (7,341,000: 1.60)
  •    919   East of England (6,236,000: 1.47)
  •    839   Yorkshire & Humber (5,503,000: 1.52)
  •    825   South West (5,625,000: 1.47)
  •    810   West Midlands (5,934,000: 1.37)
  •    548   East Midlands (4,836,000: 1.13)
  •    309   North East (2,670,000: 1.16)
  •      16   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 from the official apprenticeship standards terminology. Since the start of lockdown in March 2020, 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 4,844 new vacancies spread across 88 occupational areas and minimum starting salaries have ranged from £6,474 to £30,000pa. The occupational breakdown is as follows: 

638 Accountancy/Tax/Audit Professionals

543 Digital Technology Solutions (General) *see below for details

338 Software Engineers

325 Police Constables

324 Nurses (296 Adult, 22 Mental Health, 4 Learning Disability, 2 Children)

259 Chartered Management (General)

223 Project Management

207 Civil Engineers

152 Data Scientists/Analysts

125 Chartered Quantity Surveyors 

121 Product Design & Development Engineers

114 Electrical/Electronic Engineers

108 Food Technology/Production /Manufacturing

  93 Aerospace Engineers

  92 Logistics/Supply Chain Leadership

  89 Chartered Building/Property Surveyors  

  75 Retail Leadership

  73 Network Engineers

  66 Cyber Security Specialists

  61 Digital Marketing Professionals

  57 Financial Services Professionals

  54 Professional Economists 

  49 Manufacturing Engineers

  46 Sales/Business Development Professionals

  45 Construction Management

  45 Laboratory Scientists

  40 Control Engineers

  34 Nuclear Engineers

  29 Manufacturing & Production Management (non-food)        

  29 Solicitors

  28 Railway/Rail Systems Engineers

  26 Building Services Design Engineers

  26 Operating Department Theatre Practitioners

  25 Automotive Engineers

  22 Digital User Experience (UX) Professionals

  20 Clinical Trials Specialists

  15 Environmental Practitioners

  14 Creative Digital Designers   

  14 Materials Science Technologists

  14 Packaging Professionals

  11 Weapons Munitions & Explosives Engineers

  10 Broadcast/Media Systems Engineers

  10 Chemical Engineers

  10 Internal Audit Professionals    

    8 Gas Transmission Engineers

    8 Human Resources Professionals  

    8 Propulsion Engineers

    8 Town Planners

    6 Cardiac Physiologists

    6 Environmental Health Officers

    6 Geospatial Mapping/Surveying Professionals

    6 Non-Destructive Testing Engineers

    6 Occupational Therapists

    6 Transport Planners

    5 Operations Analysts

    5 Recruitment Professionals

    4 Biomedical Healthcare Scientists

    4 Chartered Rural Surveyors

    4 Diagnostic Radiographers

    4 Digital Healthcare Scientists

    4 Marketing Management

    4 Podiatrists

    3 Building Control Surveyors

    3 Clinical Neurophysiologists

    3 Compliance & Risk Specialists

    2 Agricultural Advisers

    2 Architectural Assistants

    2 Bioinformaticians

    2 Chartered Legal Executives   

    2 Digital Transformation Engineers

    2 Electro-Mechanical Engineers

    2 Journalists

    2 Medical Physics Technologists

    2 Physiotherapists

    2 Social Workers

    2 Tax Technologists

    1 Assistant Buyer

    1 Audiologist

    1 Building Information Modelling Specialist (BIM)

    1 Charity Management

    1 Human Performance Engineer 

    1 Learning Technologies Support Teacher

    1 Marine Engineer

    1 Midwife

    1 Nuclear Medicine Technologist

    1 Radiation Engineer (Healthcare)

    1 Rehabilitation Engineer (Healthcare)

    1 Visual Merchandiser

*Digital Technology Solutions (General) has encompassed or led to the following range of specialisms:   

Software Engineer, Software Developer, Software Tester, Network Engineer, Data Scientist, Data Analyst, Data Architecture & Integration, Network Architecture, Cyber & Information Security, IT Consultant, Software Consultant, Software Implementation Consultant, Solutions Consultant, Functional Consultant, Technical Consultant, Business Intelligence, Business Systems Engineer, Business Systems Developer, Project Management, Infrastructure Specialist, Solution Engineering & Development, Platform Management, Junior Product Management, User Experience Researcher, Technology Management, Technology Operations & Service Delivery, Technology Architecture, Innovation Technologist, Innovation Design Analyst, Business Analyst, Application Support Analyst, Global Mobility Analyst, Agile Analyst, Content Analyst, IT Service Desk Analyst, IT Support Analyst, DevOps Engineer, Scientific Computing Specialist, Operations Resilience & Change, Amazon Web Services, Client Delivery, Supervisory Control & Data Acquisition, Fixed Telecommunications. Some list!

Higher Apprenticeships:

In total there have been 3,914 new vacancies spread across 84 occupational areas and minimum starting salaries have ranged from £6,474 to £35,000pa. The occupational breakdown is as follows: 

406 Software Developers 

404 Trainee Accountants / Accounting Technicians

312 Data Analysts

312 Project Management Associates

301 Sales/Business Development Executives

184 Manufacturing Engineering Technicians 

110 Tax Technicians

109 Nursing Associates (70 Adult, 39 Mental Health)

102 Network Engineers

100 Investment Operations Specialists

  98 Policy Officers

  95 Construction Technicians/Site Supervisors

  92 Software Testers 

  85 Commercial Procurement & Supply

  77 Public Relations Assistants

  75 Technician Scientists

  68 Cyber Security Technologists/Analysts

  66 Children/Young People/Family Practitioners

  64 Insurance Professionals

  63 Civil Engineering Technicians

  59 Business Analysts 

  52 Quantity Surveying Technicians 

  51 Building Services Engineering Technicians

  51 Regulatory Compliance Professionals

  50 Electrical/Electronic Engineering Technicians

  39 Junior Management Consultants

  35 Marketing / Digital Marketing Executives

  32 Human Resources Partners     

  30 Food Technology/Engineering/Production  

  28 Buying & Merchandising Specialists

  19 Actuarial Technicians

  18 Nuclear Technicians

  15 DevOps Engineers

  15 Media Production Co-ordinators

  14 Automation & Control Engineers

  14 Estate Agency Negotiators

  14 Fibre Cable Engineers

  14 Journalists

  14 Learning, Skills & Development Practitioners  

  13 Automotive Engineering/Propulsion Technicians

  13 Mineral Products Technicians

  13 Paraplanners/Financial Advisers   

  12 Broadcast & Media Systems Technicians

  11 Audiology Associates/Hearing Aid Dispensers

  11 School Sports Coaches   

  10 Dairy Technologists

  10 Healthcare Associate Practitioners

  10 Hospitality Management

  10 Housing & Property Management

    8 Brewers

    8 Internal Auditors

    8 Hygiene Specialists

    8 Naval Architects

    8 Operations Management   

    8 Quality Practitioners

    7 Adult Social Care Leaders

    7 Logistics/Supply Chain Specialists

    7 Retail Management

    6 Improvement Practitioners

    3 Digital Communities Management

    3 Ordnance Munitions & Explosives Technicians

    2 Clinical/Medical Engineers

    2 Communications Trouble Shooters

    2 Conveyancing Technicians

    2 Counter Fraud Investigators

    2 Medical Physics Technologists

    2 Paralegals

    2 Phlebotomists

    2 Rehabilitation Officers (Visual Impairment) 

    2 School Business Professionals

    2 Tax Technology Technicians

    1 Chemical Process Technician

    1 Community Energy Specialist

    1 Employability Practitioner

    1 Facilities Management

    1 Fitness Club Manager

    1 Intelligence Analyst

    1 Lighting Designer

    1 Passenger Transport Management

    1 Recruitment Consultant

    1 Revenue & Benefits Officer    

    1 Sports Development Officer   

    1 Textiles Technician

    1 Wedding Accessories Designer

Going forward

All being well there will be a Week 60 update next week.

© Alan Bullock, 9/5/2021

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