Week 87: Higher & Degree Apprenticeship vacancies in England in the COVID era – plenty of activity

Latest reflections

Newcastle was prominent in Week 87 for two reasons. Firstly, it benefitted from 20 new DA vacancies in Software Engineering and Cyber Security with multinational professional services firm Accenture. Secondly, it’s also one of the centres to which EY, KPMG and PwC actively recruit apprentices for specific specialisms, and this week’s data includes informed but very cautious initial estimates of the numbers and locations of DA and HA vacancies that are now open to applicants for 2022 entry with these three big players. My featured image is a photo I took in Newcastle in 2017.

There was a good spread of other new vacancies too, across all regions and a wide range of occupations. My cumulative data becomes ever more interesting as a result, at least for anyone who shares my enthusiasm for trying to capture a rough statistical picture of what’s really available out there and how different counties and regions compare.

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 15th to 21st November 2021, I recorded:

  • 376 new Degree Apprenticeship vacancies and
  • 169 new Higher Apprenticeship vacancies

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

  • 7,231 new Degree Apprenticeships (Levels 6/7) and
  • 7,568 new Higher Apprenticeships (Levels 4/5)
  • giving a total of 14,799

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: 83 DAs + 87 HAs = 170 total 

This shows that there’s been a continuing rise in HAs over the past three years, while DAs have now returned to a state of equilibrium.

Updated regional analysis

The 14,799 higher and degree apprenticeships advertised in England since the start of lockdown have been distributed as follows:

  • Greater London (3,314)
  • Yorkshire (1,402)
  • West Midlands (922)
  • Greater Manchester (776)
  • Bristol & Gloucestershire (620)
  • Hampshire (582)
  • Berkshire (490)
  • Hertfordshire (418)
  • Surrey (397)
  • Tyne & Wear (349)
  • Nottinghamshire (311)
  • Lancashire (292)
  • Cheshire (292)
  • Merseyside (287)
  • Cambridgeshire (285)
  • Essex (283)
  • Sussex (279)
  • Warwickshire (232)
  • Suffolk (218)
  • Staffordshire (209)
  • Devon (206)
  • Wiltshire (197)
  • Leicestershire (193)
  • Kent (181)
  • Somerset & South Bristol (179)
  • Northamptonshire (177)
  • Bedfordshire (172)
  • Cumbria (171)
  • Buckinghamshire (167)
  • County Durham (162)
  • Oxfordshire (162)
  • Dorset (147)
  • Derbyshire (144)
  • Worcestershire (136)
  • Norfolk (132)
  • Lincolnshire (105)
  • Shropshire (65)
  • Isle of Wight (33)
  • Cornwall (30)
  • Herefordshire (27)
  • 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.

  • 3,314   London (8,962,000: 3.70)
  • 2,291   South East (9,180,000: 2.50)
  • 1,818   North West (7,341,000: 2.48)
  • 1,591   West Midlands (5,934,000: 2.68)
  • 1,508   East of England (6,236,000: 2.42)
  • 1,402   Yorkshire (5,503,000: 2.55)
  • 1,379   South West (5,625,000: 2.45)
  •    928   East Midlands (4,836,000: 1.92)
  •    530   North East (2,670,000: 1.99)
  •      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 7,231 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: 

899 Accountancy/Tax/Audit Professionals

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

495 Police Constables

472 Software Engineers

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

432 Chartered Managers (General)

310 Civil Engineers

287 Project Managers

220 Chartered Quantity Surveyors 

213 Chartered Building/Property/Valuation/Land Surveyors  

212 Data Scientists/Analysts

166 Electrical/Electronic Engineers

147 Product Design & Development Engineers

140 Food Technology/Production /Manufacturing Professionals

122 Supply Chain Leaders

120 Cyber Security Professionals

119 Digital Marketing Professionals

102 Aerospace Engineers

  86 Manufacturing Engineers

  84 Solicitors

  82 Financial Services Professionals

  82 Sales Professionals

  75 Retail Leaders

  73 Network Engineers

  67 Laboratory Scientists

  61 Building Services Design Engineers 

  61 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 Diagnostic Radiographers

  23 Electro-Mechanical/Mechatronics Engineers

  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 7,568 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: 

732 Sales Executives

688 Software Developers 

629 Data Analysts

615 Trainee Accountants / Accounting Technicians

543 Project Management Associates

263 Manufacturing Engineering Technicians 

258 Construction Site Supervisors

208 Tax Technicians

196 Network Engineers

174 Nursing Associates

159 Software Testers

148 Quantity Surveying Technicians  

145 Cyber Security Technologists

144 Business Analysts  

138 Civil/Site Engineering Technicians

136 Public Relations & Communications Assistants

130 Policy Officers

123 Commercial Procurement & Supply Practitioners

117 Children/Young People/Families Practitioners

116 School Sports Coaches    

116 Technician Scientists

111 Investment Operations Specialists

103 Building Services Engineering Technicians

101 Retail Managers

  87 Insurance Professionals 

  86 Marketing Executives

  81 Regulatory Compliance Officers

  79 Associate Ambulance Practitioners

  75 Buying & Merchandising Specialists

  56 Electrical/Electronic Engineering Technicians

  54 Food Technology/Engineering/Production Technicians 

  54 Junior Management Consultants

  46 Construction Design & Build Technicians

  44 DevOps Engineers

  41 Human Resources Consultants/Partners     

  37 Recruitment Consultants/Resourcers

  33 Paraplanners / Financial Advisers

  29 Early Years Lead Practitioners

  28 Healthcare Assistant Practitioners

  28 Quality Practitioners

  27 Brewers 

  27 Hospitality Managers

  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 Housing & Property Managers

  16 Media Production Co-ordinators

  15 Dairy Technologists

  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 Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability Practitioners

  11 Vehicle Damage Assessors  

  10 Railway Engineering Technicians

    9 Hearing Aid Dispensers

    9 Naval Architects / Marine Engineering Technicians

    9 Railway/Passenger Transport Operations Managers

    8 Hygiene Specialists

    8 Logistics/Supply Chain Specialists

    6 Employability Practitioners

    6 Healthcare Science Associates: Audiology    

    6 Healthcare Science Associates: Cardiorespiratory/Sleep Physiology

    6 School Business Professionals

    5 Architectural Technicians

    5 Digital Community Managers

    5 Information Managers

    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 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 Horticultural / Landscape Design Practitioner

    1 Lighting Designer

    1 Metrology Technician

    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, 21/11/2021

http://www.alanbullockcareers.com

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