Week 110: Higher & Degree Apprenticeship vacancies in England – steady but interesting

Latest reflections

Whilst it was a relatively steady week, there’s always something interesting to report. Health professions in particular have been fairly prominent in recent months and the NHS Jobs website has become an increasingly useful vacancy source. I do have to make judgements on what to include, as some health apprenticeships are aimed at people who already have relevant experience. But I usually give the benefit of the doubt to any vacancies that resourceful upcoming or recent school or college leavers could reasonably apply for, especially if they’ve carried out some responsible voluntary or paid work and/or followed a relevant vocational Level 3 course.    

One NHS field I find especially intriguing is Healthcare Science, in which I’ve now recorded 66 Practitioner DAs and 57 Associate HAs. There were 6 more of these this week and I’ve tweaked the way I present this data to capture it in a more consolidated way. Amongst other health occupations there were also 8 new vacancies for Emergency Medical Technicians across East Anglia. A glance through the occupational data below will give readers a sense of how health, care and medical specialisms are increasingly permeating my listings.

I’ve tweaked a couple of other things too, such as separating out Chartered Rural Surveyors as I think it’s quite an interesting specialism that has started to appear now and again. Another new entry this week was Social Change Management with two fascinating new DA vacancies in London.

Meanwhile, London was quite a hotspot again but there were also 10 new vacancies in South Wiltshire, hence the Stonehenge photo that I’ve chosen from my collection as this week’s featured image. The vacancies are all in Tech, but it’s probably fair to say that the construction of Stonehenge was pretty high tech 4,500 years ago.    


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, especially NHS Jobs, Not Going to Uni, Rate My Apprenticeship and Investment 20/20.

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

My target audience is Level 3 school and college leavers and those who influence and advise them. Therefore, 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 normally include the vacancy in my figures.

I would emphasise the term ‘work-ready’ because academic qualifications alone will never be enough to compete successfully for a higher or degree apprenticeship. Whilst a UCAS points score of around 112 is often needed for DAs (sometimes more, sometimes less), it’s otherwise much more about the skills, qualities and insights you can bring. STEM subjects will also put potential applicants at a significant advantage in terms of opening up a wider range of options.

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 something of a mismatch between the occupations to which young people often aspire and the reality of what’s available.

One further and slightly confusing factor to take into account is that it’s quite normal for some 18/19-year-old school/college leavers to apply for lower level apprenticeships too, especially at Level 3. In fact I sometimes see Level 3 apprenticeships that ask for A Level or equivalent qualifications and Level 4 to 7 apprenticeships that don’t. It’s also true that a significant proportion of opportunities will be snapped up by older applicants. It’s a competitive market place, so work-readiness really matters.  

Headline data

During the latest period from 25th April to 1st May 2022 I recorded:

  • 64 new Degree Apprenticeship vacancies and
  • 118 new Higher Apprenticeship vacancies

In the 110 weeks since the start of the first COVID-19 lockdown (23rd March 2020 to 1st May 2022) I’ve now recorded:

  • 12,488 new Degree Apprenticeships (Levels 6/7) and
  • 11,386 new Higher Apprenticeships (Levels 4/5)
  • giving a total of 23,874

Using the 70 weeks either side of the initial 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 110 weeks since lockdown: 114 DAs + 103 HAs = 217 total

This shows that both DAs and HAs have more than fully recovered since the initial reductions in the early days of the pandemic. Whilst it’s fair to say that I’m being more thorough in the way I track down and monitor new vacancies than I was in pre-COVID days, I’m definitely seeing an upward trend in volume compared with how things looked two to three years ago. That said, with talk of possible economic turbulence ahead, I intend to keep my eye on the ball to see if things change.

Updated regional analysis

The 23,874 higher and degree apprenticeships advertised in England since the start of lockdown have been distributed as follows:

  • Greater London (6,802)
  • Yorkshire (2,137)
  • West Midlands (1,325)
  • Greater Manchester (1,207)
  • Bristol & Gloucestershire (911)
  • Hampshire (804)
  • Berkshire (703)
  • Hertfordshire (619)
  • Surrey (545)
  • Tyne & Wear (459)
  • Nottinghamshire (457)
  • Cheshire (445)
  • Sussex (435)
  • Essex (401)
  • Cambridgeshire (399)
  • Warwickshire (382)
  • Lancashire (380)
  • Suffolk (376)
  • Merseyside (340)
  • County Durham (304)
  • Staffordshire (304)
  • Wiltshire (304)
  • Somerset & South Bristol (300)
  • Devon (292)
  • Leicestershire (278)
  • Bedfordshire (268)
  • Kent (266)
  • Derbyshire (256)
  • Cumbria (247)
  • Oxfordshire (246)
  • Buckinghamshire (245)
  • Norfolk (244)
  • Northamptonshire (241)
  • Dorset (234)
  • Worcestershire (167)
  • Lincolnshire (156)
  • Shropshire (98)
  • Cornwall (86)
  • Isle of Wight (41)
  • Northumberland (32)
  • Herefordshire (31)
  • Rutland (4)
  • Home working (23)
  • Not specified (80) 

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. (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. This currently shows that  the West Midlands and Yorkshire & Humber are the ‘best-performing’ regions outside London, but clearly London does outperform the rest of England by quite a wide margin.

  • 6,802   London (8,962,000: 7.59)
  • 3,285   South East (9,180,000: 3.58)
  • 2,619   North West (7,341,000: 3.57)
  • 2,307   West Midlands (5,934,000: 3.89)
  • 2,307   East of England (6,236,000: 3.70)
  • 2,137   Yorkshire & Humber (5,503,000: 3.88)
  • 2,127   South West (5,625,000: 3.78)
  • 1,392   East Midlands (4,836,000: 2.88)
  •    795   North East (2,670,000: 2.98)
  •    103   Not specified / home working 

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 12,488 new vacancies spread across 98 occupational areas and minimum starting salaries have ranged from £5,590 to £30,629pa. The occupational breakdown is as follows: 

2,720 Police Constables

1,122 Digital Technology Solutions (General) *see below for details

1,002 Accountancy/Tax/Audit Professionals

  660 Software Engineers

  582 Chartered Managers (General)

  555 Nurses (459 Adult, 75 Mental Health, 16 Learning Disability, 5 Child)

  459 Civil Engineers

  411 Chartered Quantity Surveyors 

  398 Project Managers

  379 Data Scientists/Analysts

  293 Chartered Building/Property/Land Surveyors  

  259 Electrical/Electronic Engineers

  257 Design & Development Engineers

  248 Supply Chain Leaders

  209 Food Technology/Production/Manufacturing Professionals

  185 Digital Marketing Professionals

  184 Cyber Security Professionals

  157 Manufacturing Engineers

  145 Financial Services Professionals

  132 Sales Professionals

  122 Professional Economists 

  119 Retail Leaders

  113 Aerospace Engineers

  113 Laboratory Scientists

  113 Solicitors

  112 Building Services Design Engineers 

    95 Construction Managers

    95 Network Engineers

    80 Environmental Practitioners

    72 Railway/Rail Systems Engineers

    68 Digital User Experience (UX) Design Professionals

    66 Healthcare Science Practitioners (10 Biomedical Science, 9 Neurophysiology, 8 Cardiovascular, 7 Biomedical Engineering, 6 Nuclear Medicine, 5 Digital Healthcare Science, 5 Radiation/Radiotherapy Engineering, 5 Radiation Physics, 5 Respiratory / Sleep Science, 3 Bioinformatics, 1 Audiology, 1 Rehabilitation Engineering, 1 Renal Specialist)

    65 Nuclear Engineers

    60 Control Engineers

    45 Operating Department Practitioners 

    40 Internal Audit Professionals

    39 Radiographers (28 Diagnostic, 11 Therapeutic)

    38 Electromechanical/Mechatronics Engineers

    38 Manufacturing & Production Managers (non-food)        

    33 Hospitality Managers

    32 Broadcast/Media Systems Engineers

    31 Materials Science Technologists/Engineers

    30 Creative Digital Design Professionals   

    28 Town Planners

    27 Clinical Trials Specialists

    23 Packaging Professionals 

    22 Business Analysts

    22 Chemical Engineers     

    21 Podiatrists

    20 Recruitment Professionals

    19 Human Resources / People Professionals  

    19 Occupational Therapists

    19 Transport Planners    

    19 Weapons Munitions & Explosives Engineers

    17 Environmental Health Officers

    17 Journalists

    16 Design & Construction Managers

    16 Social Workers 

    15 Professional Foresters

    14 Junior Traders (Financial Markets)     

    13 Building Control Surveyors

    13 Marketing Managers

    12 Architectural Assistants

    12 Public Health Practitioners

    11 Non-Destructive Testing Engineers

    10 Geospatial Mapping/Surveying Professionals

    10 Physiotherapists

      8 Agricultural/Horticultural Advisers

      8 Chartered Rural Surveyors

      8 Gas Transmission Engineers

      8 Propulsion Engineers

      6 Actuarial Professionals

      5 Operations Analysts

      4 Assistant Teachers / Learning Coaches

      4 Chartered Legal Executives   

      4 Compliance & Risk Specialists

      4 Fire Safety Engineers

      4 Geotechnical/Geospatial Engineers

      3 Building Information Modelling (BIM) Specialists

      3 Digital Transformation Engineers

      3 Fitness/Leisure Centre Managers

      3 TV Production Managers

      2 Buying & Procurement Professionals

      2 Education Technology Specialists

      2 Midwives

      2 Social Change Managers

      2 Pensions Professionals

      2 Tax Technologists

      1 Brewer

      1 Charity Manager

      1 Events Manager

      1 Facilities Manager

      1 Human Performance Engineer 

      1 Marine Engineer

      1 Population Health Intelligence Analyst

      1 Prosthetist & Orthotist

      1 Speech Therapist

      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, Global Data Analyst, Data Architect, Network Architect, Enterprise Architect, Cyber Security Specialist, IT Consultant, Solutions Consultant, Software Implementation Consultant, Software Consultant, Project Manager, Project Co-ordinator, Business Intelligence Specialist, Business Systems Engineer/Developer, Automation Developer, Full Stack Developer, Digital Developer, Technology Architect, Technology Manager, Innovation Technologist, Innovation Design Analyst, Agile Analyst, Application Support Analyst, Business Analyst, Global Mobility Analyst, Content Analyst, Security Operations Analyst, Process Mining Analyst, User Experience Researcher, Junior Product Manager, Infrastructure Specialist, FinTech Expert, DevOps Engineer, Solutions Engineer, Systems Engineer, Automation Engineer, Support Engineer, Cloud Engineer, Sales Engineer, Sales Account Manager, Sales Operations Manager, Scientific Computing Specialist, Platform Manager, Service Manager, Engineering Information Manager, Amazon Web Services Specialist, Supervisory Control & Data Acquisition Specialist, Fixed Telecoms Specialist, IT Support Analyst, IT Service Desk Analyst, Support Desk Analyst, WordPress Developer, Technology Operations & Service Delivery Specialist, Functional Consultant, Technical Consultant, Digital Manufacturing Engineer, Electronic Systems Design & Development Engineer, Solution Engineering & Development Specialist, Client Delivery Specialist, Client Success Specialist, Client Consultant, Operations Resilience & Change Specialist, Innovation Foundry Specialist, Continuous Improvement & Automation Specialist and Railway Signalling Control Systems Specialist.

That’s some list and it keeps on growing.

Higher Apprenticeships (Levels 4/5):

In total there have been 11,386 new vacancies spread across 125 occupational areas and minimum starting salaries have ranged from £5,590 to £35,000pa. The occupational breakdown is as follows: 

1,112 Sales Executives

  929 Software Developers 

  870 Data Analysts

  823 Trainee Accountants / Accounting Technicians

  801 Project Management Associates

  345 School/Community Sports Coaches    

  321 Manufacturing Engineering Technicians 

  313 Construction Site Supervisors

  306 Business Analysts  

  280 Nursing Associates

  275 Taxation Technicians

  271 Network Engineers

  239 Software Testers

  224 Retail Managers

  218 Public Relations & Communications Assistants

  207 Quantity Surveying Technicians  

  199 Cyber Security Technologists

  196 Civil/Site Engineering Technicians

  186 Commercial Procurement & Supply Practitioners

  184 Children/Youth/Family Practitioners

  176 Buying & Merchandising Specialists

  169 Electrical/Electronic Engineering Technicians

  168 Building Services Engineering Technicians

  168 Government Policy Officers

  147 Technician Scientists

  133 Investment Operations Specialists

  131 Associate Ambulance Practitioners

  121 Insurance Professionals  

  113 Marketing Executives

    99 DevOps Engineers

    96 Regulatory Compliance Officers

    82 Early Years Lead Practitioners

    72 Junior Management Consultants

    69 Food Technology/Engineering/Production Technicians 

    69 Human Resources Consultants/Partners     

    67 Construction Design & Build Technicians

    60 Recruitment Resourcers/Consultants

    59 Mineral Products Technicians

    57 Healthcare Science Associates  (16 Audiology / Hearing Aid Dispensers, 14 Cardiorespiratory/Sleep Physiology, 13 Bio/Medical Engineering, 4 Speech Therapy, 2 Mammography, 2 Medical Physics, 2 MRI Radiography, 2 Phlebotomy, 1 Biochemistry, 1 Tissue Retrieval)   

    57 Quality Practitioners

    56 Financial Advisers / Paraplanners   

    47 Healthcare Associate Practitioners

    47 Nuclear Technicians

    43 Adult Social Care Lead Practitioners       

    37 Brewers 

    34 Automotive Engineering/Propulsion Technicians

    34 TV/Media Production Co-ordinators

    32 Actuarial Technicians

    32 Hospitality Managers

    30 Learning/Skills & Development Practitioners

    28 Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability Practitioners

    28 Journalists

    27 Internal Audit Practitioners

    26 Ordnance Munitions & Explosives Technicians

    25 Business Improvement Specialists 

    25 Dairy Technologists

    24 Automation & Control Engineers

    23 Vehicle Damage Assessors  

    22 Railway Engineering Technicians

    21 Estate Agency Negotiators

    20 Operations Managers   

    18 Housing/Property/Lettings Officers

    17 Revenue & Welfare Benefits Officers    

    15 Intelligence Analysts

    14 Countryside Rangers

    14 Fibre Cable Engineers

    14 Police Community Support Officers

    12 Broadcast & Media Systems Technicians

    11 Logistics Specialists   

    10 Hygiene Specialists

      9 Digital Community Managers

      9 Land Referencers      

      9 Naval Architects / Marine Engineering Technicians

      9 Railway/Passenger Transport Operations Managers

      8 Emergency Medical Technicians 

      8 Paralegals

      8 Post-Production Technical Operators (Film/TV)

      7 Computer Games Developers

      7 Employability Practitioners

      6 Acoustics Technicians

      6 Facilities Managers

      6 Fire Safety Inspectors

      6 Information Managers     

      6 School Business Professionals     

      5 Architectural Technicians

      5 Football Coaches

      5 Rehabilitation Officers (Visual Impairment) 

      4 Conveyancing Technicians

      4 Counter Fraud Investigators

      4 Unified Communications Trouble Shooters

      3 Pensions Administrators

      3 Port Marine Operations Officers

      3 Senior Culinary Chefs

      3 Sports Development Officers   

      2 Arboriculturists      

      2 Auctioneers

      2 Building Information Modelling (BIM) Technicians

      2 Early Intervention Practitioners

      2 Fashion & Textiles Technicians

      2 Gymnastics/Trampoline Coaches

      2 Historic Site Advisers

      2 Music Recording Technicians

      2 Space Engineering Technicians

      2 Tax Technology Technicians

      2 Town Planning Assistants 

      2 Utilities Technicians

      2 VFX Artists

      2 Water Recycling Engineers

      1 Chaplain

      1 Chemical Process Technician

      1 Clinical Coder

      1 Community Energy Specialist

      1 Community Safety Officer (Antisocial Behaviour)

      1 Dental Technician

      1 Digital Accessibility Specialist

      1 Fitness Club Manager

      1 Fitness Instructor

      1 Horticultural / Landscape Design Practitioner

      1 Lighting Designer

      1 Market Research Executive

      1 Metrology Technician

      1 Payroll Assistant Manager

      1 Tennis Coach

      1 Wedding Accessories Designer

      1 Wedding Venue Co-ordinator

Going forward

I hope to continue posting weekly updates as frequently as possible.

© Alan Bullock Careers, 1/5/2022

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