Week 86: Higher & Degree Apprenticeship vacancies in England in the COVID era – another mixed bag

Latest reflections

Higher Apprenticeships remained strong in Week 86, with the ‘big four’ (Sales Executives, Software Developers, Data Analysts and Accounting Technicians) continuing to perform well. The Construction sector was also quite active again, while Sports Coaches made further headway and various Health and Social Care specialisms were prominent too, including Associate Ambulance Practitioners in London.

In fact Greater London was very busy again, with 51% of this week’s aggregated new DA and HA vacancies all within its boundaries. As for Degree Apprenticeships, the major player was multinational built environment specialists Ove Arup & Partners with 34 vacancies spread across a diverse range of occupations and regions but with 20 of them at their London offices in Fitzroy Street.

Several years ago I ran a seminar in London on Built Environment professions on behalf of Central Careers Hub and I had some brilliant support for it from Arup. Hence this week’s featured image is a photo I took after a late afternoon planning meeting I had with Arup during the festive period.

Whilst the London area was dominant, there was some activity around the extremities of the country too. Norfolk hit double figures and both Northumberland and the Isle of Wight put in rare appearances, as did Carlisle and the border town of Kington in Herefordshire, two miles from Wales.        

Background and methodology

Since the first ‘lockdown’ started on Monday 23rd March 2020, I’ve kept a record of new higher and degree apprenticeship vacancies posted in England and in doing so have built up an evolving occupational and regional analysis. 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, Not Going to Uni and Rate My Apprenticeship.

I only include vacancies at Levels 4 to 7 that ‘work-ready’ 18/19-year-olds 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 more than a year’s permanent experience is clearly required, I don’t include the vacancy in my figures.

I also collated similar data for a period of 70 weeks prior to the March 2020 lockdown. My weekly headline data therefore compares the pre-lockdown and post-lockdown figures and I now use the two 70-week periods either side of lockdown as a benchmark.

My data will never be fully reliable because not all vacancies are advertised nationally in a way that also gives an indication of actual numbers and locations. However, the analyses that I’ve built up paint an intriguing picture of what’s out there in a changing post-18 career landscape. The figures also suggest that supply is never likely to match demand and that there may be a significant mismatch between the occupations to which young people often aspire and the reality of what’s available.  

Headline data

During the latest period, from 8th to 14th November 2021, I recorded:

  • 54 new Degree Apprenticeship vacancies and
  • 187 new Higher Apprenticeship vacancies

In the 86 weeks since the start of lockdown (23rd March 2020 to 14th November 2021) I’ve now recorded:

  • 6,855 new Degree Apprenticeships (Levels 6/7) and
  • 7,399 new Higher Apprenticeships (Levels 4/5)
  • giving a total of 14,254

Using the 70 weeks either side of the initial COVID-19 lockdown (on 23/3/20) as a benchmark, my latest comparative figures are as follows:

  • Weekly average in the 70 weeks before lockdown: 82 DAs + 71 HAs = 153 total
  • Weekly average in the 70 weeks after lockdown: 84 DAs + 75 HAs = 159 total
  • Weekly average in the 86 weeks since lockdown: 80 DAs + 86 HAs = 166 total 

This shows that there’s been a continuing rise in HAs over the past three years, whereas DAs have been a little bit more temperamental.

Updated regional analysis

The 14,254 higher and degree apprenticeships advertised in England since the start of lockdown have been distributed as follows:

  • Greater London (3,161)
  • Yorkshire (1,336)
  • West Midlands (867)
  • Greater Manchester (733)
  • Bristol & Gloucestershire (598)
  • Hampshire (544)
  • Berkshire (468)
  • Hertfordshire (410)
  • Surrey (395)
  • Nottinghamshire (309)
  • Tyne & Wear (298)
  • Lancashire (289)
  • Cheshire (287)
  • Merseyside (282)
  • Essex (280)
  • Sussex (274)
  • Cambridgeshire (271)
  • Warwickshire (232)
  • Suffolk (214)
  • Staffordshire (205)
  • Devon (203)
  • Wiltshire (197)
  • Leicestershire (187)
  • Kent (179)
  • Somerset & South Bristol (177)
  • Northamptonshire (174)
  • Cumbria (170)
  • Bedfordshire (166)
  • Buckinghamshire (164)
  • Oxfordshire (161)
  • County Durham (160)
  • Dorset (146)
  • Derbyshire (142)
  • Worcestershire (134)
  • Norfolk (130)
  • Lincolnshire (103)
  • Shropshire (64)
  • Isle of Wight (33)
  • Cornwall (30)
  • Herefordshire (26)
  • Northumberland (16)
  • Rutland (1)
  • Work from your own home (3)
  • Not specified (35) 

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 quite 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.

  • 3,161   London (8,962,000: 3.53)
  • 2,218   South East (9,180,000: 2.42)
  • 1,761   North West (7,341,000: 2.40)
  • 1,528   West Midlands (5,934,000: 2.57)
  • 1,471   East of England (6,236,000: 2.36)
  • 1,351   South West (5,625,000: 2.40)
  • 1,336   Yorkshire & Humber (5,503,000: 2.43)
  •    913   East Midlands (4,836,000: 1.89)
  •    477   North East (2,670,000: 1.79)
  •      38   Not specified/homeworking 

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 Apprenticeships (Levels 6/7):

In total there have been 6,855 new vacancies spread across 91 occupational areas and minimum starting salaries have ranged from £6,708 to £30,629pa. The occupational breakdown is as follows: 

780 Accountancy/Tax/Audit Professionals

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

495 Police Constables

471 Nurses (421 Adult, 31 Mental Health, 11 Learning Disability, 5 Older People, 3 Children)

432 Software Engineers

413 Chartered Managers (General)

310 Civil Engineers

279 Project Managers

219 Chartered Quantity Surveyors 

210 Chartered Building/Property/Valuation/Land Surveyors  

182 Data Scientists/Analysts

166 Electrical/Electronic Engineers

147 Product Design & Development Engineers

140 Food Technology/Production /Manufacturing Professionals

122 Supply Chain Leaders

116 Digital Marketing Professionals

109 Cyber Security Professionals

102 Aerospace Engineers

  85 Manufacturing Engineers

  82 Financial Services Professionals

  81 Sales Professionals

  75 Retail Leaders

  73 Network Engineers

  67 Laboratory Scientists

  67 Solicitors

  58 Building Services Design Engineers 

  56 Professional Economists 

  54 Construction Managers

  52 Railway/Rail Systems Engineers

  44 Environmental Practitioners

  43 Control Engineers

  42 Nuclear Engineers

  39 User Experience (UX) Design Professionals

  36 Operating Department Practitioners 

  30 Manufacturing & Production Managers (non-food)        

  25 Automotive Engineers

  24 Town Planners

  23 Creative Digital Design Professionals   

  23 Electro-Mechanical/Mechatronics Engineers

  22 Diagnostic Radiographers

  20 Clinical Trials Specialists

  19 Materials Science Technologists

  19 Packaging Professionals

  18 Human Resources / People Professionals  

  16 Environmental Health Officers

  13 Healthcare Science Practitioners: Physiology (8 Cardiovascular / 5 Respiratory/Sleep) 

  12 Chemical Engineers    

  12 Recruitment Professionals

  12 Weapons Munitions & Explosives Engineers

  11 Architectural Assistants

  10 Broadcast/Media Systems Engineers

  10 Internal Audit Professionals    

    9 Healthcare Science Practitioners: Neurosensory (8 Neurophysiology, 1 Audiology)   

    9 Transport Planners    

    8 Gas Transmission Engineers

    8 Geospatial Mapping/Surveying Professionals

    8 Healthcare Science Practitioners: Biomedical Science

    8 Occupational Therapists

    8 Podiatrists

    8 Propulsion Engineers

    8 Social Workers 

    7 Marketing Managers

    7 Non-Destructive Testing Engineers

    7 Public Health Practitioners

    6 Actuarial Professionals

    6 Healthcare Science Practitioners: Clinical Engineering (3 Medical, 1 Radiation, 1 Renal, 1 Rehabilitation)

    6 Healthcare Science Practitioners: Medical Physics (4 Nuclear Medicine, 2 Radiation Physics)

    5 Operations Analysts

    4 Agricultural/Horticultural Advisers

    4 Fire Safety Engineers

    4 Healthcare Science Practitioners: Digital Healthcare Science

    3 Compliance & Risk Specialists

    3 Fitness/Leisure Centre Managers

    3 Healthcare Science Practitioners: Bioinformatics

    2 Assistant Teachers

    2 Building Information Modelling (BIM) Specialists

    2 Buying & Procurement Professionals

    2 Chartered Legal Executives   

    2 Digital Transformation Engineers

    2 Education Technology Specialists

    2 Journalists

    2 Midwives

    2 Physiotherapists

    2 Radiotherapists

    2 Tax Technologists

    1 Brewer

    1 Charity Manager

    1 Human Performance Engineer 

    1 Marine Engineer

    1 Population Health Intelligence Analyst

    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 Architect, Network Architect, Cyber Security Specialist, 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, Support Engineer, Cloud Engineer, Sales Engineer, Scientific Computing Specialist, Platform Manager, Amazon Web Services Specialist, Supervisory Control & Data Acquisition Specialist, Fixed Telecoms Specialist, IT Service Desk Analyst, Support Desk Analyst, WordPress Developer, Technology Operations & Service Delivery Specialist, Functional Consultant, Technical Consultant, Solution Engineering & Development Specialist, Client Delivery Specialist, Operations Resilience & Change Specialist, Innovation Foundry, and Continuous Improvement & Automation specialist. Some list and it keeps on growing!

Higher Apprenticeships (Levels 4/5):

In total there have been 7,399 new vacancies spread across 116 occupational areas and minimum starting salaries have ranged from £5,590 to £35,000pa. The occupational breakdown is as follows: 

721 Sales Executives

679 Software Developers 

616 Data Analysts

612 Trainee Accountants / Accounting Technicians

529 Project Management Associates

263 Manufacturing Engineering Technicians 

219 Construction Site Supervisors

186 Network Engineers

186 Tax Technicians

174 Nursing Associates

157 Software Testers

145 Quantity Surveying Technicians  

138 Business Analysts  

137 Cyber Security Technologists

131 Public Relations & Communications Assistants

130 Policy Officers

128 Civil/Site Engineering Technicians

122 Commercial Procurement & Supply Practitioners

117 Children/Young People/Families Practitioners

116 Technician Scientists

115 School Sports Coaches    

111 Investment Operations Specialists

102 Building Services Engineering Technicians

  87 Insurance Professionals 

  86 Construction Design & Build Technicians

  83 Marketing Executives

  80 Regulatory Compliance Officers

  80 Retail Managers

  79 Associate Ambulance Practitioners

  74 Buying & Merchandising Specialists

  56 Electrical/Electronic Engineering Technicians

  54 Food Technology/Engineering/Production Technicians 

  44 DevOps Engineers

  44 Junior Management Consultants

  41 Human Resources Consultants/Partners     

  37 Recruitment Consultants/Resourcers

  31 Paraplanners / Financial Advisers

  28 Healthcare Assistant Practitioners

  28 Quality Practitioners

  27 Brewers 

  27 Hospitality Managers

  26 Early Years Lead Practitioners

  26 Learning, Skills & Development Practitioners  

  26 Ordnance Munitions & Explosives Technicians

  25 Adult Social Care Practitioners

  25 Nuclear Technicians

  24 Actuarial Technicians

  21 Automotive Engineering/Propulsion Technicians 

  20 Estate Agency Negotiators

  19 Automation & Control Engineers

  17 Internal Audit Practitioners

  17 Mineral Products Technicians

  16 Media Production Co-ordinators

  15 Dairy Technologists

  15 Housing & Property Managers

  14 Countryside Rangers

  14 Fibre Cable Engineers

  14 Journalists

  14 Operations Managers   

  14 Police Community Support Officers

  13 Improvement Specialists 

  12 Broadcast & Media Systems Technicians

  12 Revenue & Welfare Benefits Officers    

  11 Vehicle Damage Assessors  

  10 Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability Practitioners

  10 Railway Engineering Technicians

    9 Hearing Aid Dispensers

    9 Naval Architects / Marine Engineering Technicians

    8 Hygiene Specialists

    8 Logistics/Supply Chain Specialists

    6 Employability Practitioners

    6 Healthcare Science Associates: Audiology    

    6 Healthcare Science Associates: Cardiorespiratory/Sleep Physiology

    5 Architectural Technicians

    5 Digital Community Managers

    5 Information Managers

    5 School Business Professionals

    5 Specialist Sports Coaches (3 Football, 1 Tennis, 1 Gymnastics & Trampoline)

    4 Conveyancing Technicians

    4 Counter Fraud Investigators

    4 Fire Safety Inspectors

    4 Unified Communications Trouble Shooters

    3 Healthcare Science Associates: Medical Engineering

    3 Post-Production Technical Operators (Film/TV)

    3 Rehabilitation Officers (Visual Impairment) 

    3 Senior Culinary Chefs

    3 Sports Development Officers   

    2 Early Intervention Practitioners

    2 Facilities Managers

    2 Healthcare Science Associates: Medical Physics

    2 Healthcare Science Associates: MRI Radiography

    2 Healthcare Science Associates: Phlebotomy

    2 Historic Site Advisers

    2 Intelligence Analysts

    2 Paralegals

    2 Port Marine Operations Officers

    2 Railway Operations Managers

    2 Tax Technology Technicians

    2 VFX Artists

    1 Acoustics Technician

    1 Arboriculturist

    1 Building Information Modelling (BIM) Technician

    1 Chemical Process Technician

    1 Community Energy Specialist

    1 Dental Technician

    1 Fitness Club Manager

    1 Fitness Instructor

    1 Games Designer

    1 Healthcare Science Associate: Biochemistry

    1 Healthcare Science Associate: Speech Therapy

    1 Lighting Designer

    1 Metrology Technician

    1 Passenger Transport Manager

    1 Textiles Technician

    1 Wedding Accessories Designer

    1 Wedding Venue Co-ordinator

Going forward

I hope to continue updating these reports on a fairly frequent basis.

© Alan Bullock, 14/11/2021

http://www.alanbullockcareers.com

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