Week 119: Higher & Degree Apprenticeship cumulative vacancies – there’s more to Tax than you think

Latest reflections

Somerset was most notable for punching above its weight this week, especially because of a block of Nursing (both Adult and Mental Health) and Nursing Associate vacancies centred around Taunton. As is often the case in Nursing, these vacancies were not specifically aimed at school and college-leavers, but could be appropriate for applicants with exceptional qualities and experiences or who completed full-time education last year, thereby meeting the criteria for inclusion in my data. My featured image is a photo I took at the Somerset County Cricket ground on a visit to Taunton in 2017 and it also reflects the relentless surge of Sports Coach HA vacancies which continued yet again this week.

As ever there was an interesting spread of other vacancies too and my pick of the week is Taxation Technicians. I often think of the words of a Tax apprentice I came across called Charlotte who said: “There’s so much more to Tax than you think and I never thought I would end up working with such a wide variety of clients”. This week the cumulative number of Taxation HAs topped 300 and it’s now 11th in my HA ‘rankings’ list. With the best will in the world, I doubt that it comes near the top ten in most young people’s priority list of career aspirations.         

My new data on Scotland is starting to take shape, with Wales and Northern Ireland now on my radar too. With 65 vacancies in Scotland currently in my listings, I should soon be in a position to provide an initial report and if anyone would find this helpful do let me know.

Another topic I intend to comment on in future updates is what I perceive to be a growth in vacancies that involve hybrid or remote working. Watch this space!

Background

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 27th June to 3rd July 2022 I recorded:

  • 89 new Degree Apprenticeship vacancies and
  • 160 new Higher Apprenticeship vacancies

In the 119 weeks since the start of the first COVID-19 lockdown (23rd March 2020 to 3rd July 2022) I’ve now recorded:

  • 13,627 new Degree Apprenticeships (Levels 6/7) and
  • 12,633 new Higher Apprenticeships (Levels 4/5)
  • giving a total of 26,260

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 119 weeks since lockdown: 115 DAs + 106 HAs = 221 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 26,260 higher and degree apprenticeships advertised in England since the start of lockdown have been distributed as follows:

  • Greater London (7,233)
  • Yorkshire (2,285)
  • West Midlands (1,577)
  • Greater Manchester (1,299)
  • Bristol & Gloucestershire (978)
  • Hampshire (894)
  • Berkshire (775)
  • Hertfordshire (654)
  • Surrey (586)
  • Nottinghamshire (522)
  • Tyne & Wear (504)
  • Cheshire (482)
  • Sussex (479)
  • Derbyshire (478)
  • Cambridgeshire (441)
  • Essex (441)
  • Lancashire (439)
  • Warwickshire (433)
  • Suffolk (416)
  • Merseyside (364)
  • Somerset & South Bristol (361)
  • Devon (338)
  • Staffordshire (336)
  • County Durham (327)
  • Wiltshire (320)
  • Leicestershire (301)
  • Bedfordshire (292)
  • Kent (292)
  • Oxfordshire (283)
  • Buckinghamshire (273)
  • Dorset (273)
  • Norfolk (265)
  • Cumbria (259)
  • Northamptonshire (256)
  • Lincolnshire (181)
  • Worcestershire (179)
  • Shropshire (124)
  • Cornwall (98)
  • Isle of Wight (43)
  • Northumberland (36)
  • Herefordshire (31)
  • Rutland (7)
  • Home working (24)
  • Not specified (81) 

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 includes North Humberside and East Midlands includes South Humberside.)

To place this into sharper perspective, 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. Clearly London outperforms the rest of England by quite a wide margin, but I think it’s interesting to view the bigger picture too.

  • 7,233   London (8,962,000: 8.07)
  • 3,625   South East (9,180,000: 3.95)
  • 2,839   North West (7,341,000: 3.87)
  • 2,680   West Midlands (5,934,000: 4.52)
  • 2,509   East of England (6,236,000: 4.02)
  • 2,368   South West (5,625,000: 4.21)
  • 2,285   Yorkshire (5,503,000: 4.15)
  • 1,745   East Midlands (4,836,000: 3.61)
  •    871   North East (2,670,000: 3.26)
  •    105   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 13,627 new vacancies spread across 101 occupational areas and minimum starting salaries have ranged from £5,590 to £32,000pa. The occupational breakdown is as follows: 

2,870 Police Constables

1,225 Digital Technology Solutions (general) *see below for details

1,067 Accountancy/Tax/Audit Professionals

  695 Software Engineers/Developers

  676 Chartered Managers (general)

  575 Nurses (470 Adult, 84 Mental Health, 16 Learning Disability, 5 Child)

  529 Civil Engineers

  439 Chartered Quantity Surveyors 

  417 Project Managers

  405 Data Scientists/Analysts/Engineers

  324 Chartered Building/Property/Land Surveyors  

  271 Electrical/Electronic Engineers

  268 Design & Development Engineers

  256 Supply Chain Leaders

  217 Food Technology/Production/Manufacturing Professionals

  196 Cyber Security Professionals

  194 Digital Marketing Professionals

  169 Manufacturing Engineers

  156 Nuclear Engineers/Scientists  

  149 Financial Services Professionals

  139 Sales Professionals

  131 Building Services Design Engineers 

  124 Professional Economists 

  123 Laboratory Scientists

  119 Retail Leaders

  117 Solicitors

  113 Aerospace Engineers

  108 Environmental Practitioners

  100 Construction Managers

    95 Network Engineers

    84 Healthcare Science Practitioners (11 Biomedical Science, 11 Cardiovascular Physiology, 10 Medical & Clinical Engineering, 10 Neurophysiology, 8 Nuclear Medicine, 7 Radiation & Radiotherapy Engineering, 6 Respiratory Physiology & Sleep Science, 6 Radiation Physics, 5 Digital Healthcare Science, 4 Audiology, 3 Bioinformatics, 1 Medical Physics, 1 Rehabilitation Engineering, 1 Renal Specialist)

    75 Hospital Operating Department Practitioners  

    74 Railway/Rail Systems Engineers

    70 Digital User Experience (UX) Design Professionals

    62 Control Engineers

    60 Non-Destructive Testing Engineers

    46 Electro-Mechanical/Mechatronics Engineers

    40 Hospitality Managers

    40 Internal Audit Professionals

    40 Radiographers (28 Diagnostic, 12 Therapeutic)

    39 Materials Scientists/Technologists/Engineers

    38 Manufacturing & Production Managers (non-food)        

    37 Town Planners

    35 Clinical Trials Specialists

    34 Occupational Therapists

    33 Creative Digital Design Professionals   

    32 Broadcast/Media Systems Engineers

    30 Recruitment Professionals

    29 Podiatrists

    27 Social Workers 

    24 Business Analysts

    23 Packaging Professionals 

    22 Chemical Engineers     

    22 Transport Planners    

    20 Human Resources / People Professionals  

    19 Chartered Rural Surveyors

    19 Weapons Munitions & Explosives Engineers

    18 Environmental Health Officers

    17 Architectural Technologists

    17 Journalists

    16 Building Control Surveyors

    15 Architectural Assistants

    15 Professional Foresters

    14 Geotechnical Engineers

    14 Junior Traders (Global Financial Markets)     

    13 GIS / Geospatial Mapping & Surveying Professionals

    13 Marketing Managers

    13 Public Health Practitioners

    11 Physiotherapists

      9 Business Managers (Social Change)

      9 Project Control Professionals

      8 Agricultural/Horticultural Advisers

      8 Gas Transmission Engineers

      8 Propulsion Engineers

      6 Actuarial Professionals

      5 Fire Safety Engineers

      5 Operations Analysts

      5 Sport Development Officers

      4 Assistant Teachers / Learning Coaches

      4 Chartered Legal Executives   

      4 Compliance & Risk Specialists

      3 Building Information Modelling (BIM) Specialists

      3 Digital Transformation Engineers

      3 Fitness/Leisure Centre Managers

      3 Speech & Language Therapists

      3 TV Production Managers

      2 Buying & Procurement Professionals

      2 Education Technology Specialists

      2 Midwives

      2 Pensions Professionals

      2 Tax Technologists

      1 Brewer

      1 Charity Manager

      1 Community Centre Manager

      1 Events Manager

      1 Facilities Manager

      1 Human Performance Engineer 

      1 Marine Engineer

      1 Population Health Intelligence Analyst

      1 Prosthetist & Orthotist

      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, Automation Test Developer, Full Stack Developer, Digital Developer, Solutions Architect, Technology Architect, Technology Manager, Innovation Technologist, Innovation Design Analyst, Agile Analyst, Application Support Analyst, Technical Support Analyst, Business Analyst, Global Mobility Analyst, Content Analyst, Security Operations Analyst, Process Mining Analyst, User Experience Researcher, Junior Product Manager, Infrastructure Specialist, FinTech Specialist, DevOps Engineer, Solutions Engineer, Digital Solutions Engineer, Systems Engineer, Automation Engineer, Support Engineer, Service Desk 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 growing.

Higher Apprenticeships (Levels 4/5):

In total there have been 12,633 new vacancies spread across 128 occupational areas and minimum starting salaries have ranged from £5,590 to £35,000pa. The occupational breakdown is as follows: 

1,208 Sales Executives

1,029 Software Developers 

  936 Data Analysts

  894 Project Management Associates

  875 Trainee Accountants / Accounting Technicians

  416 School/Community Sports Coaches    

  359 Manufacturing Engineering Technicians 

  358 Construction Site Supervisors

  358 Nursing Associates

  333 Business Analysts  

  307 Taxation Technicians

  300 Network Engineers

  265 Software Testers

  245 Quantity Surveying Technicians  

  233 Public Relations & Communications Assistants

  230 Retail Assistant Managers

  217 Cyber Security Technologists

  210 Commercial Procurement & Supply Practitioners

  206 Civil/Site Engineering Technicians

  190 Building Services Engineering Technicians

  188 Children/Youth/Family Practitioners

  184 Buying & Merchandising Specialists

  174 Electrical/Electronic Engineering Technicians

  169 Technician Scientists

  168 Government Policy Officers

  150 Insurance Professionals  

  133 Investment Operations Specialists

  131 Associate Ambulance Practitioners

  128 Marketing Executives

  113 DevOps Engineers

  101 Regulatory Compliance Officers

    86 Early Years Lead Practitioners

    77 Food Technology/Engineering/Production Technicians 

    77 Junior Management Consultants

    77 Nuclear Technicians

    75 Construction Design & Build Technicians

    73 Healthcare Science Associates (18 Audiology & Hearing Aid Dispensers, 14 Cardiorespiratory & Sleep Physiology, 13 Bio/Medical Engineering, 8 MRI Radiography, 6 Genetics Technology, 4 Mammography, 4 Speech Therapy, 2 Medical Physics, 2 Phlebotomy, 1 Biochemistry, 1 Tissue Retrieval)  

    73 Human Resources Consultants/Partners     

    73 Mineral Products Technicians 

    66 Quality Practitioners

    65 Recruitment Resourcers/Consultants

    59 Financial Advisers/Paraplanners   

    47 Healthcare Associate Practitioners (general)

    44 Adult Social Care Lead Practitioners       

    44 Hospitality Managers

    44 Vehicle Damage Assessors     

    40 Internal Audit Practitioners   

    39 Brewers 

    38 Actuarial Technicians

    37 Intelligence Analysts

    34 Automotive Engineering/Propulsion Technicians

    34 Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability Practitioners

    34 TV/Media Production Co-ordinators

    31 Business Improvement Practitioners 

    31 Dairy Technologists

    30 Learning/Skills & Development Practitioners

    28 Journalists

    26 Automation & Control Engineers

    26 Ordnance Munitions & Explosives Technicians

    25 Railway Engineering Technicians

    22 Revenue & Welfare Benefits Officers    

    21 Estate Agency Negotiators

    21 Housing/Property/Lettings Managers

    21 Operations Managers   

    15 Smart Energy Engineers

    14 Countryside Rangers

    14 Fibre Cable Engineers

    14 Police Community Support Officers

    12 Broadcast & Media Systems Technicians

    12 Land Referencers      

    12 Logistics Specialists   

    12 Paralegals

    11 Hygiene Specialists

    10 Digital Community Managers

    10 Information Managers    

      9 Naval Architects / Marine Engineering Technicians

      9 Railway/Passenger Transport Operations Managers

      8 Acoustics Technicians

      8 Emergency Medical Technicians 

      8 Post-Production Technical Operators (Film/TV)

      7 Computer Games Developers

      7 Employability Practitioners

      6 Counter Fraud Investigators    

      6 Facilities Managers

      6 Fire Safety Inspectors

      6 Football Coaches

      6 School Business Professionals     

      5 Architectural Technicians

      5 Market Research Executives

      5 Rehabilitation Officers (Visual Impairment) 

      4 Aircraft Certifying Technicians

      4 Unified Communications Trouble Shooters

      3 Fashion & Textiles Technologists

      3 Gymnastics/Trampoline Coaches

      3 Pensions Administrators

      3 Port Marine Operations Officers

      3 Senior Culinary Chefs

      3 Space Engineering Technicians

      3 Sports Development Officers   

      3 Utilities Technicians

      2 Arboriculturists      

      2 Auctioneers

      2 Building Information Modelling (BIM) Technicians

      2 Early Intervention Practitioners

      2 Historic Site Advisers

      2 Music Recording Technicians

      2 Tax Technology Technicians

      2 Town Planning Assistants 

      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 Cultural Heritage Conservation Technician

      1 Customs & Foreign Exchange Expert

      1 Dental Technician

      1 Digital Accessibility Specialist

      1 Fitness Club Manager

      1 Fitness Instructor

      1 Horticultural / Landscape Design Practitioner

      1 Lighting Designer

      1 Metrology Technician

      1 Payroll Assistant Manager

      1 Tennis Coach

      1 Wedding Accessories Designer

      1 Wedding Venue Co-ordinator

Going forward

All being well I will continue posting frequent updates, usually on Sunday nights.

As from 1st June I have also started to track Degree and Higher Apprenticeships in Wales and Northern Ireland and their equivalent in Scotland (Graduate Apprenticeships). I’ve always been very conscious that my blog only covers England and I intend to redress this in the near future.

© Alan Bullock Careers, 3/7/2022

https://alanbullockcareers.com

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