Week 91: Higher & Degree Apprenticeship vacancies in England in the COVID era – the positive story continues

Latest reflections

December has been a busy month for both DAs and HAs and this week I picked up an interesting range of new or recent vacancies, amounting to 391 in total. These included:

  • 20 Buying & Merchandising HAs in Watford with TJX UK, of which retailer TKMaxx is a part
  • 10 DAs in London for Junior Traders (Global Markets) with Goldman Sachs, who are especially keen to diversify their workforce
  • 54 DA/HA vacancies with the BBC across several occupational areas and locations, especially Salford and London. I found the BBC Careers website particularly helpful in the way each opportunity is described, which includes stating the actual number of vacancies for each position. This is sometimes lacking when bigger employers have multiple vacancies that are not posted on the government apprenticeships site, making it difficult to get any sense of scale. The BBC’s reward for the clarity of their information is to appear in my featured image, a photo I took a few years ago in Salford.

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, Amazing Apprenticeships, UCAS and Prospects.

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 13th to 19th December 2021, I recorded:

  • 241 new Degree Apprenticeship vacancies and
  • 150 new Higher Apprenticeship vacancies

In the 91 weeks since the start of lockdown (23rd March 2020 to 19th December 2021) I’ve now recorded:

  • 8,096 new Degree Apprenticeships (Levels 6/7) and
  • 8,414 new Higher Apprenticeships (Levels 4/5)
  • giving a total of 16,510

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 91 weeks since lockdown: 89 DAs + 92 HAs = 181 total 

This shows that both DAs and especially 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 proactive in the way I track down and monitor new vacancies than I was in pre-COVID days.

Updated regional analysis

The 16,510 higher and degree apprenticeships advertised in England since the start of lockdown have been distributed as follows:

  • Greater London (3,750)
  • Yorkshire (1,575)
  • West Midlands (987)
  • Greater Manchester (889)
  • Bristol & Gloucestershire (691)
  • Hampshire (628)
  • Berkshire (521)
  • Hertfordshire (473)
  • Surrey (440)
  • Tyne & Wear (369)
  • Nottinghamshire (333)
  • Lancashire (318)
  • Cheshire (312)
  • Suffolk (311)
  • Sussex (305)
  • Essex (304)
  • Merseyside (302)
  • Cambridgeshire (298)
  • Warwickshire (243)
  • Staffordshire (237)
  • Devon (225)
  • Leicestershire (209)
  • Wiltshire (208)
  • Somerset & South Bristol (205)
  • Norfolk (197)
  • Cumbria (193)
  • Buckinghamshire (190)
  • Northamptonshire (189)
  • Kent (189)
  • Bedfordshire (188)
  • Dorset (182)
  • County Durham (180)
  • Derbyshire (168)
  • Oxfordshire (165)
  • Worcestershire (143)
  • Lincolnshire (113)
  • Shropshire (70)
  • Cornwall (38)
  • Isle of Wight (35)
  • Herefordshire (27)
  • Northumberland (17)
  • Rutland (1)
  • Work from your own home (7)
  • Not specified (85) 

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.

  • 3,750   London (8,962,000: 4.18)
  • 2,473   South East (9,180,000: 2.69)
  • 2,014   North West (7,341,000: 2.74)
  • 1,771   East of England (6,236,000: 2.84)
  • 1,707   West Midlands (5,934,000: 2.88)
  • 1,575   Yorkshire & Humber (5,503,000: 2.86)
  • 1,549   South West (5,625,000: 2.75)
  • 1,013   East Midlands (4,836,000: 2.10)
  •    566   North East (2,670,000: 2.12)
  •      92   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 8,096 new vacancies spread across 91 occupational areas and minimum starting salaries have ranged from £5,590 to £30,629pa. The occupational breakdown is as follows: 

953 Accountancy/Tax/Audit Professionals

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

645 Police Constables

521 Chartered Managers (General)

513 Software Engineers

494 Nurses (422 Adult, 51 Mental Health, 12 Learning Disability, 5 Older People, 4 Children)

334 Civil Engineers

313 Project Managers

264 Data Scientists/Analysts

232 Chartered Quantity Surveyors 

222 Chartered Building/Property/Valuation/Land Surveyors  

197 Food Technology/Production/Manufacturing Professionals

180 Electrical/Electronic Engineers

169 Product Design & Development / Mechanical Engineers

138 Digital Marketing Professionals

134 Supply Chain Leaders

129 Cyber Security Professionals

119 Retail Leaders

109 Aerospace Engineers

  97 Manufacturing Engineers

  90 Solicitors

  86 Sales Professionals

  83 Financial Services Professionals

  75 Network Engineers

  72 Laboratory Scientists

  65 Professional Economists 

  61 Building Services Design Engineers 

  54 Construction Managers

  53 Nuclear Engineers

  52 Railway/Rail Systems Engineers

  48 Environmental Practitioners

  43 Control Engineers

  42 User Experience (UX) Design Professionals

  36 Operating Department Practitioners 

  31 Radiographers (27 Diagnostic, 4 Therapeutic)

  30 Manufacturing & Production Managers (non-food)        

  29 Broadcast/Media Systems Engineers

  26 Town Planners

  25 Automotive Engineers

  25 Electro-Mechanical/Mechatronics Engineers

  24 Creative Digital Design Professionals   

  22 Healthcare Science Practitioners: Physiology/Neurosensory (8 Cardiovascular, 8 Neurophysiology, 5 Respiratory/Sleep, 1 Audiology)

  22 Packaging Professionals

  21 Materials Science Technologists/Engineers

  20 Clinical Trials Specialists

  20 Recruitment Professionals

  18 Human Resources / People Professionals  

  17 Environmental Health Officers

  15 Chemical Engineers    

  13 Healthcare Science Practitioners: Clinical Engineering / Medical Physics (4 Nuclear Medicine, 3 Medical Engineering, 2 Radiation Physics, 2 Radiotherapy Engineering, 1 Rehabilitation Engineering, 1 Renal Specialist)

  12 Weapons Munitions & Explosives Engineers

  11 Architectural Assistants

  11 Public Health Practitioners

  11 Transport Planners    

  10 Internal Audit Professionals

  10 Junior Traders (Global Markets)    

    9 Non-Destructive Testing Engineers

    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

    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 Tax Technologists

    1 Brewer

    1 Charity Manager

    1 Events 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, Enterprise 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 just keeps on growing!

Higher Apprenticeships (Levels 4/5):

In total there have been 8,414 new vacancies spread across 111 occupational areas and minimum starting salaries have ranged from £5,590 to £35,000pa. The occupational breakdown is as follows: 

818 Sales Executives

727 Software Developers 

720 Trainee Accountants / Accounting Technicians

672 Data Analysts

594 Project Management Associates

273 Manufacturing Engineering Technicians 

267 Construction Site Supervisors

233 Tax Technicians

206 Network Engineers

199 Nursing Associates

183 Business Analysts  

166 Software Testers

154 Quantity Surveying Technicians  

154 Retail Managers

153 Civil/Site Engineering Technicians

151 Cyber Security Technologists

146 Policy Officers

146 School/Community Sports Coaches    

141 Public Relations & Communications Assistants

135 Commercial Procurement & Supply Practitioners

125 Building Services Engineering Technicians

125 Children/Young People/Families Practitioners

118 Associate Ambulance Practitioners

118 Technician Scientists

112 Investment Operations Specialists

  98 Buying & Merchandising Specialists

  95 Insurance Professionals 

  93 Marketing Executives

  90 Regulatory Compliance Officers

  79 Electrical/Electronic Engineering Technicians

  60 Junior Management Consultants

  54 Food Technology/Engineering/Production Technicians 

  53 DevOps Engineers

  48 Construction Design & Build Technicians

  47 Early Years Lead Practitioners

  44 Human Resources Consultants/Partners     

  42 Recruitment Consultants/Resourcers

  40 Adult Care Lead Practitioners

  35 Paraplanners / Financial Advisers

  31 Quality Practitioners

  29 Brewers 

  29 Healthcare Assistant Practitioners

  27 Hospitality Managers

  27 Learning Mentors / Skills & Development Practitioners

  26 Ordnance Munitions & Explosives Technicians

  25 Healthcare Science Associates (7 Cardiorespiratory/Sleep Physiology, 6 Audiology, 4 Medical Engineering, 2 Medical Physics, 2 MRI Radiography, 2 Phlebotomy, 1 Biochemistry, 1 Speech Therapy)

  25 Nuclear Technicians

  24 Actuarial Technicians

  21 Automotive Engineering/Propulsion Technicians 

  20 Automation & Control Engineers

  20 Estate Agency Negotiators

  18 Internal Audit Practitioners

  17 Housing/Property/Lettings Officers

  17 Intelligence Analysts

  17 Mineral Products Technicians

  16 Media Production Co-ordinators

  16 Operations Managers   

  15 Business Improvement Specialists 

  15 Dairy Technologists

  15 Revenue & Welfare Benefits Officers    

  14 Countryside Rangers

  14 Fibre Cable Engineers

  14 Journalists

  14 Police Community Support Officers

  14 Vehicle Damage Assessors  

  13 Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability Practitioners

  12 Broadcast & Media Systems Technicians

  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 Post-Production Technical Operators (Film/TV)

    6 Employability Practitioners

    6 School Business Professionals

    5 Architectural Technicians

    5 Digital Community Managers

    5 Fire Safety Inspectors

    5 Information Managers

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

    4 Conveyancing Technicians

    4 Counter Fraud Investigators

    4 Unified Communications Trouble Shooters

    3 Paralegals

    3 Pensions Administrators

    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 Historic Site Advisers

    2 Junior VFX Artists

    2 Port Marine Operations Officers

    2 Tax Technology Technicians

    1 Arboriculturist

    1 Chemical Process Technician

    1 Community Energy Specialist

    1 Dental Technician

    1 Diabetes Analyst

    1 Fitness Club Manager

    1 Fitness Instructor

    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 publishing further updates most weeks.

© Alan Bullock, 19/12/2021

http://www.alanbullockcareers.com

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