Week 89: Higher & Degree Apprenticeship vacancies in England in the COVID era – lots of activity

Latest reflections

This was an exceptional week for DAs. The total number was boosted substantially by multiple new vacancies for Police Constables (PCDAs) in Suffolk, Norfolk and Cumbria, Retail Leaders with Morrisons, Food Technologists with Greencore and Chartered Managers at Accenture.

With 140 new PCDAs in Suffolk and Norfolk, the regional ‘pecking order’ that I listed in last week’s reflections has taken a surprising turn when you look at the number of new vacancies per head of population since the start of the pandemic. The East of England and the South West now appear to be punching well above their weight, while the South East is not as highly-placed as one might expect. Nonetheless, it’s good to see a little more equality between the regions than I originally imagined there would be. And whilst the North East and East Midlands still lag behind, both of these regions are putting up a decent fight too.

Here’s the revised ‘pecking order’:  

  1. Greater London
  2. West Midlands
  3. East of England
  4. Yorkshire & Humber
  5. South West
  6. North West
  7. South East
  8. North East
  9. East Midlands

The East of England’s sudden elevation to third place provides my rationale for this week’s featured image with an East Anglian theme from my photograph collection. Meanwhile, read on to see all my latest cumulative data, which keeps on evolving.   

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, Rate My Apprenticeship and Amazing Apprenticeships.

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 29th November to 5th December 2021, I recorded:

  • 412 new Degree Apprenticeship vacancies and
  • 143 new Higher Apprenticeship vacancies

In the 89 weeks since the start of lockdown (23rd March 2020 to 5th December 2021) I’ve now recorded:

  • 7,751 new Degree Apprenticeships (Levels 6/7) and
  • 7,987 new Higher Apprenticeships (Levels 4/5)
  • giving a total of 15,738

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 90 weeks since lockdown: 87 DAs + 90 HAs = 177 total 

This shows that both DAs and HAs have more than fully recovered since  the initial reductions in the early days of the pandemic, although it’s fair to say that I’m probably being more thorough in the way I track down and monitor new vacancies than I was in pre-COVID days.

Updated regional analysis

The 15,738 higher and degree apprenticeships advertised in England since the start of lockdown have been distributed as follows:

  • Greater London (3,531)
  • Yorkshire (1,474)
  • West Midlands (955)
  • Greater Manchester (807)
  • Bristol & Gloucestershire (666)
  • Hampshire (608)
  • Berkshire (505)
  • Hertfordshire (445)
  • Surrey (412)
  • Tyne & Wear (359)
  • Nottinghamshire (326)
  • Cheshire (311)
  • Lancashire (303)
  • Merseyside (300)
  • Suffolk (300)
  • Cambridgeshire (296)
  • Sussex (291)
  • Essex (284)
  • Warwickshire (241)
  • Staffordshire (231)
  • Devon (216)
  • Wiltshire (204)
  • Leicestershire (202)
  • Norfolk (194)
  • Kent (185)
  • Northamptonshire (184)
  • Cumbria (183)
  • Buckinghamshire (182)
  • Bedfordshire (182)
  • Somerset & South Bristol (180)
  • County Durham (172)
  • Dorset (171)
  • Oxfordshire (163)
  • Derbyshire (161)
  • Worcestershire (140)
  • Lincolnshire (111)
  • Shropshire (65)
  • Cornwall (34)
  • Isle of Wight (33)
  • Herefordshire (27)
  • Northumberland (17)
  • Rutland (1)
  • Work from your own home (7)
  • Not specified (79) 

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. (NB In my data Yorkshire & Humber includes North Humberside and East Midlands includes South Humberside.)

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.

  • 3,531   London (8,962,000: 3.94)
  • 2,379   South East (9,180,000: 2.59)
  • 1,904   North West (7,341,000: 2.59)
  • 1,701   East of England (6,236,000: 2.73)
  • 1,659   West Midlands (5,934,000: 2.80)
  • 1,474   Yorkshire & Humber (5,503,000: 2.68)
  • 1,471   South West (5,625,000: 2.62)
  •    982   East Midlands (4,836,000: 2.03)
  •    551   North East (2,670,000: 2.06)
  •      86   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 7,751 new vacancies spread across 92 occupational areas and minimum starting salaries have ranged from £6,708 to £30,629pa. The occupational breakdown is as follows: 

919 Accountancy/Tax/Audit Professionals

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

645 Police Constables

491 Nurses (421 Adult, 51 Mental Health, 11 Learning Disability, 5 Older People, 3 Children)

491 Software Engineers

463 Chartered Managers (General)

313 Civil Engineers

294 Project Managers

226 Chartered Quantity Surveyors 

221 Chartered Building/Property/Valuation/Land Surveyors  

218 Data Scientists/Analysts

194 Food Technology/Production /Manufacturing Professionals

172 Electrical/Electronic Engineers

158 Product Design & Development / Mechanical Engineers

134 Supply Chain Leaders

122 Digital Marketing Professionals

121 Cyber Security Professionals

119 Retail Leaders

107 Aerospace Engineers

  96 Manufacturing Engineers

  90 Solicitors

  85 Sales Professionals

  83 Financial Services Professionals

  73 Network Engineers

  72 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

  25 Diagnostic Radiographers

  24 Electro-Mechanical/Mechatronics Engineers

  24 Town Planners

  23 Creative Digital Design Professionals   

  22 Packaging Professionals

  21 Materials Science Technologists/Engineers

  20 Clinical Trials Specialists

  18 Human Resources / People Professionals  

  17 Environmental Health Officers

  15 Chemical Engineers    

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

  12 Broadcast/Media Systems Engineers

  12 Recruitment Professionals

  12 Weapons Munitions & Explosives Engineers

  11 Architectural Assistants

  10 Internal Audit Professionals    

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

    9 Non-Destructive Testing Engineers

    9 Public Health Practitioners

    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

    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 Chartered Legal Executives   

    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 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 Pensions Manager

    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, FinTech Expert, DevOps Engineer, Solutions Engineer, Support Engineer, Cloud Engineer, Sales Engineer, Scientific Computing Specialist, Platform Manager, Service Manager, Engineering Information 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 7,987 new vacancies spread across 117 occupational areas and minimum starting salaries have ranged from £5,590 to £35,000pa. The occupational breakdown is as follows: 

757 Sales Executives

710 Software Developers 

703 Trainee Accountants / Accounting Technicians

655 Data Analysts

558 Project Management Associates

264 Manufacturing Engineering Technicians 

259 Construction Site Supervisors

231 Tax Technicians

199 Network Engineers

198 Nursing Associates

182 Business Analysts  

162 Software Testers

150 Cyber Security Technologists

150 Quantity Surveying Technicians  

141 Civil/Site Engineering Technicians

138 Public Relations & Communications Assistants

136 Sports Coaches (Schools/Young People)   

130 Commercial Procurement & Supply Practitioners

130 Policy Officers

118 Children/Young People/Families Practitioners

118 Technician Scientists

111 Investment Operations Specialists

105 Building Services Engineering Technicians

101 Retail Managers

  95 Insurance Professionals 

  90 Regulatory Compliance Officers

  89 Marketing Executives

  79 Associate Ambulance Practitioners

  76 Buying & Merchandising Specialists

  76 Electrical/Electronic Engineering Technicians

  59 Junior Management Consultants

  54 Food Technology/Engineering/Production Technicians 

  46 Construction Design & Build Technicians

  46 DevOps Engineers

  43 Human Resources Consultants/Partners     

  38 Adult Care Lead Practitioners

  37 Recruitment Consultants/Resourcers

  35 Early Years Lead Practitioners

  34 Paraplanners / Financial Advisers

  30 Quality Practitioners

  29 Healthcare Assistant Practitioners

  28 Brewers 

  27 Hospitality Managers

  27 Learning Mentors / Skills & Development Practitioners

  26 Ordnance Munitions & Explosives Technicians

  25 Nuclear Technicians

  24 Actuarial Technicians

  21 Automotive Engineering/Propulsion Technicians 

  20 Automation & Control Engineers

  20 Estate Agency Negotiators

  18 Internal Audit Practitioners

  17 Intelligence Analysts

  17 Mineral Products Technicians

  16 Housing & Property Managers

  16 Media Production Co-ordinators

  15 Dairy Technologists

  15 Operations Managers   

  15 Revenue & Welfare Benefits Officers    

  14 Countryside Rangers

  14 Fibre Cable Engineers

  14 Journalists

  14 Police Community Support Officers

  14 Vehicle Damage Assessors  

  13 Improvement Specialists 

  12 Broadcast & Media Systems Technicians

  11 Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability Practitioners

  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

    7 Healthcare Science Associates: Cardiorespiratory/Sleep Physiology

    6 Employability Practitioners

    6 Healthcare Science Associates: Audiology    

    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 Paralegals

    3 Post-Production Technical Operators (Film/TV)

    3 Rehabilitation Officers (Visual Impairment) 

    3 Senior Culinary Chefs

    3 Sports Development Officers   

    2 Acoustics Technicians

    2 Building Information Modelling (BIM) Technicians

    2 Early Intervention Practitioners

    2 Facilities Managers

    2 Games Developers

    2 Healthcare Science Associates: Medical Physics

    2 Healthcare Science Associates: MRI Radiography

    2 Healthcare Science Associates: Phlebotomy

    2 Historic Site Advisers

    2 Pensions Administrators

    2 Port Marine Operations Officers

    2 Tax Technology Technicians

    2 VFX Artists

    1 Arboriculturist

    1 Chemical Process Technician

    1 Community Energy Specialist

    1 Dental Technician

    1 Fitness Club Manager

    1 Fitness Instructor

    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 publish a Week 90 update next week.

© Alan Bullock, 5/12/2021

http://www.alanbullockcareers.com

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