66 weeks after the start of lockdown: Higher & Degree Apprenticeship vacancies in England still doing well

Headline news and latest reflections

While DAs were steady this week, HAs were especially plentiful and my overall HA occupational analysis (below) continues to paint an intriguing picture of the labour market.

The two biggest HA risers were Sales Executives and Construction Technicians, both of which have become quite prolific in recent months. In the case of Construction I’ve decided to sub-divide the categories a little further, especially because Site Supervisors and Design & Build Technicians have been rising in prominence and I wanted to quantify that.

The Built Environment continues to flourish somewhat in the DA data too, Civil Engineering standing out with 15 new vacancies. My weekly scan of the NHS Jobs website is also supplying a steady trickle of relevant vacancies, including Clinical Physiology in which there were three more this week. Two of these were in Liverpool and one in Middlesbrough, with all three specialising in Neurophysiology. There were four Environmental Health Officer vacancies with local authorities too, one each in King’s Lynn and Weston-super-Mare and two in Waltham Forest.

Meanwhile, Sevenoaks in Kent gets this week’s special mention for punching above its weight, with numerous new vacancies in Construction and Civil Engineering, prompting me to choose a Kentish location for my photographic image. I happened to be in Whitstable yesterday and took numerous photos, one of which had a Construction Design & Build kind of feel to it. The contemporary ‘pod’ style of design combines rather well with the Kentish fisherman’s hut look, I think.    

Finally, if you didn’t catch my extra blogpost last week about Trafigura’s unique Global Commodity Trading apprenticeship, do take a look. By my standards the blog went viral, with 509 views so far in 56 different countries. Here’s a link for anyone who hasn’t seen it already:



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 including NHS Jobs.

I only include vacancies that a ‘work-ready’ 18/19-year-old seeking their first permanent role could reasonably apply for, whether at the point of leaving school/college or after a few months of temporary experience. If a year or more’s permanent experience is clearly required, I don’t include the vacancy in my data.

I’ve been compiling similar data since autumn 2018, so each week I compare my post-lockdown figures 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 I personally find immensely useful in my guidance and school/college presentations.

Headline data

During the latest week, from 21st to 26th June I recorded:

  • 57 new Degree & Level 7 Apprenticeship vacancies and
  • 141 new Higher Apprenticeship vacancies

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

  • In the 66 weeks prior to lockdown (17th December 2018 to 20th March 2020) I recorded 5,517 new Degree & Level 7 Apprenticeships and 4,661 new Higher Apprenticeships, giving a total of 10,178 and an average of 154 new vacancies each week.
  • In the 66 weeks since the start of lockdown (23rd March 2020 to 26th June 2021) I’ve recorded 5,536 new Degree & Level 7 Apprenticeships and 4,798 new Higher Apprenticeships, giving a total of 10,334 and an average of 157 new vacancies each week.  

For the fourth consecutive week, this represents an increase in vacancies post-lockdown compared with pre-lockdown, now amounting to 1.5%. This is in huge contrast to the dire situation that prevailed during the spring and early-summer of 2020 when there was a reduction of 80%.

Updated regional analysis

The 10,334 higher and degree apprenticeships advertised in England since the start of lockdown have been distributed as follows:

  • Greater London (2,255)
  • Yorkshire (1,003)
  • West Midlands (669)
  • Greater Manchester (531)
  • Bristol & Gloucestershire (444)
  • Berkshire (356)
  • Hampshire (355)
  • Hertfordshire (299)
  • Surrey (251)
  • Nottinghamshire (235)
  • Tyne & Wear (229)
  • Lancashire (227)
  • Cheshire (212)
  • Essex (212)
  • Cambridgeshire (205)
  • Warwickshire (191)
  • Merseyside (185)
  • Suffolk (179)
  • Sussex (171)
  • Cumbria (157)
  • Leicestershire (144)
  • Devon (140)
  • Wiltshire (129)
  • Kent (129)
  • Oxfordshire (127)
  • County Durham (126)
  • Staffordshire (125)
  • Northamptonshire (125)
  • Somerset & South Bristol (119)
  • Dorset (117)
  • Buckinghamshire (111)
  • Derbyshire (103)
  • Worcestershire (94)
  • Norfolk (91)
  • Bedfordshire (85)
  • Lincolnshire (67)
  • Shropshire (50)
  • Isle of Wight (31)
  • Herefordshire (20)
  • Cornwall (16)
  • Northumberland (6)
  • Rutland (1)
  • Not specified (12) 

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.

  • 2,255   London (8,962,000: 2.52)
  • 1,531   South East (9,180,000: 1.67)
  • 1,312   North West (7,341,000: 1.79)
  • 1,149   West Midlands (5,934,000: 1.94)
  • 1,071   East of England (6,236,000: 1.72)
  • 1,003   Yorkshire & Humber (5,503,000: 1.82)
  •    965   South West (5,625,000: 1.72)
  •    675   East Midlands (4,836,000: 1.40)
  •    361   North East (2,670,000: 1.35)
  •      12   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 5,536 new vacancies spread across 86 occupational areas and minimum starting salaries have ranged from £6,474 to £30,000pa. The occupational breakdown is as follows: 

659 Accountancy/Tax/Audit Professionals

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

495 Police Constables

356 Software Engineers

341 Nurses (306 Adult, 23 Mental Health, 5 Older People, 4 Learning Disability, 3 Children)

289 Chartered Management (General)

240 Civil Engineers

228 Project Management

167 Chartered Quantity Surveyors 

162 Data Scientists/Analysts

138 Chartered Building/Property/Rural/Valuation Surveyors  

126 Product Design & Development Engineers

123 Electrical/Electronic Engineers

112 Food Technology/Production /Manufacturing

104 Supply Chain Leadership

  93 Aerospace Engineers

  75 Retail Leadership

  74 Cyber Security Professionals

  73 Network Engineers

  69 Digital Marketing Professionals

  59 Financial Services Professionals

  58 Manufacturing Engineers

  55 Professional Economists 

  54 Sales Professionals

  53 Laboratory Scientists

  48 Construction Management

  44 Building Services Design Engineers 

  40 Control Engineers

  36 Nuclear Engineers

  34 Digital User Experience (UX) Professionals

  33 Environmental Practitioners

  33 Railway/Rail Systems Engineers

  32 Operating Department Practitioners

  31 Solicitors

  29 Manufacturing & Production Management (non-food)        

  25 Automotive Engineers

  20 Clinical Trials Specialists

  19 Materials Science Technologists

  18 Town Planners

  16 Clinical Physiologists (8 Neuro, 7 Cardiac, 1 Respiratory & Sleep)

  16 Packaging Professionals

  14 Creative Digital Designers   

  14 Environmental Health Officers

  12 Human Resources Professionals  

  12 Weapons Munitions & Explosives Engineers

  10 Broadcast/Media Systems Engineers

  10 Chemical Engineers

  10 Internal Audit Professionals    

    9 Transport Planners    

    8 Gas Transmission Engineers

    8 Occupational Therapists

    8 Propulsion Engineers

    7 Biomedical Healthcare Scientists

    7 Geospatial Mapping/Surveying Professionals

    6 Actuarial Professionals

    6 Medical Physics/Nuclear Medicine Technologists

    6 Non-Destructive Testing Engineers

    6 Podiatrists

    5 Clinical/Medical Engineers

    5 Marketing Management

    5 Operations Analysts

    5 Recruitment Professionals

    5 Social Workers 

    4 Architectural Assistants

    4 Diagnostic Radiographers

    4 Digital Healthcare Scientists

    3 Bioinformatics Specialists

    3 Compliance & Risk Specialists

    2 Agricultural Advisers

    2 Assistant Teachers

    2 Building Information Modelling Specialists (BIM)

    2 Chartered Legal Executives   

    2 Digital Transformation Engineers

    2 Electro-Mechanical Engineers

    2 Journalists

    2 Physiotherapists

    2 Public Health Practitioners

    2 Tax Technologists

    1 Assistant Buyer

    1 Audiologist

    1 Charity Management

    1 Human Performance Engineer 

    1 Learning Technologies Support Teacher

    1 Marine Engineer

    1 Midwife

    1 Visual Merchandiser

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

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

Higher Apprenticeships:

In total there have been 4,798 new vacancies spread across 94 occupational areas and minimum starting salaries have ranged from £6,474 to £35,000pa. The occupational breakdown is as follows: 

471 Software Developers 

440 Trainee Accountants / Accounting Technicians

415 Sales Executives

389 Data Analysts

385 Project Management Associates

212 Manufacturing Engineering Technicians 

120 Nursing Associates

119 Policy Officers

119 Tax Technicians

114 Network Engineers

101 Investment Operations Specialists

  98 Commercial Procurement & Supply

  98 Software Testers 

  94 Construction Site Supervisors

  90 Civil/Construction Engineering Technicians

  90 Public Relations Assistants

  89 Cyber Security Technologists

  81 Technician Scientists

  76 Business Analysts  

  72 Building Services Engineering Technicians

  71 Quantity Surveying Technicians  

  68 Children/Young People/Family Practitioners

  64 Insurance Professionals  

  62 Construction Design & Build Technicians

  61 Regulatory Compliance Professionals

  59 Buying & Merchandising Specialists

  56 Electrical/Electronic Engineering Technicians

  46 Marketing Executives

  43 Sports Coaches   

  40 Junior Management Consultants

  37 Food Technology/Engineering/Production  

  37 Retail Management

  33 Human Resources Partners     

  24 Learning, Skills & Development Practitioners/Teachers  

  22 Nuclear Technicians

  21 Actuarial Technicians

  20 Automotive Engineering/Propulsion Technicians 

  20 DevOps Engineers

  16 Automation & Control Engineers

  16 Estate Agency Negotiators

  16 Financial Advisers / Paraplanners

  16 Media Production Co-ordinators

  14 Fibre Cable Engineers

  14 Hospitality Management

  14 Journalists

  13 Mineral Products Technicians

  13 Ordnance Munitions & Explosives Technicians

  13 Quality Practitioners

  12 Broadcast & Media Systems Technicians

  12 Housing & Property Management

  11 Adult Social Care Leaders

  11 Audiology Associates/Hearing Aid Dispensers

  11 Healthcare Associate Practitioners

  10 Brewers

  10 Dairy Technologists

  10 Internal Auditors

  10 Operations Management   

    9 Improvement Technicians

    8 Hygiene Specialists

    8 Naval Architects

    7 Logistics/Supply Chain Specialists

    5 Architectural Technicians

    4 Conveyancing Technicians

    4 Digital Communities Management

    4 Recruitment Consultants/Resourcers   

    4 Unified Communications Trouble Shooters

    3 Employability Practitioners

    3 Railway Engineering Technicians

    3 Revenue & Benefits Officers    

    3 School Business Professionals

    2 BEMS Controls Engineers

    2 Clinical/Medical Engineers

    2 Counter Fraud Investigators

    2 Information Managers

    2 Medical Physics Technologists

    2 MRI Radiography Assistant Practitioners

    2 Paralegals

    2 Phlebotomists

    2 Rehabilitation Officers (Visual Impairment) 

    2 Tax Technology Technicians

    1 Chemical Process Technician

    1 Community Energy Specialist

    1 Facilities Management

    1 Fitness Club Manager

    1 Healthcare Science Associate (Respiratory Physiology)

    1 Intelligence Analyst

    1 Lighting Designer

    1 Metrology Technician

    1 Passenger Transport Management

    1 Railway Operations Management

    1 Sports Development Officer   

    1 Textiles Technician

    1 VFX Artist

    1 Wedding Accessories Designer

Going forward

I’ve got sufficient data to keep this format going until the end of this term. Thereafter, I’ll probably look at a slightly different approach that will enable me to continue putting some useful LMI out there.

© Alan Bullock, 27/6/2021

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