Week 123 Higher & Degree Apprenticeship overview – lots of activity especially in West Yorkshire

Latest reflections

Just a brief commentary this week, but there’s been plenty of activity on the DA and HA front as well as the belated addition of a crop of DA Accountancy/Audit vacancies that I missed earlier in the year.

It was an especially busy week in Yorkshire, including a bulk posting of Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship vacancies by West Yorkshire Police across their five policing districts of Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield in partnership with Leeds Trinity University, hence this week’s featured image by David Mark from Pixabay.    

My new Scottish data also continued to progress with 130 new vacancies now recorded since 1st June. I’m looking forward to writing a special feature on Scotland during August, with Wales and possibly Northern Ireland to follow in due course.         


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.

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 there’s something of a mismatch between supply and demand in terms of volume (there aren’t enough to go around), location (just take a look at my regional breakdown) and the range of occupations available (which probably doesn’t align too well with student aspirations).

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. It’s also true that a significant proportion of DA and HA opportunities will be snapped up by older applicants and therefore work-readiness really matters to enable 18/19-year-olds to compete.  

Headline data

During the latest period from 25th to 31st July 2022 I recorded:

  • 124 new Degree Apprenticeship vacancies and
  • 118 new Higher Apprenticeship vacancies plus
  • 135 Degree Apprenticeships that I omitted earlier this year

In the 123 weeks since the start of the first COVID-19 lockdown (23rd March 2020 to 31st July 2022) I’ve now recorded:

  • 14,054 new Degree Apprenticeships (Levels 6/7) and
  • 13,154 new Higher Apprenticeships (Levels 4/5)
  • giving a total of 27,208

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 123 weeks since lockdown: 114 DAs + 107 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, I intend to keep my eye on the ball to see if things change further.

Updated analysis by county and region

By county, the 27,208 higher and degree apprenticeships advertised in England since the start of lockdown have been distributed as follows:

  • Greater London (7,383)
  • Yorkshire (2,427)
  • West Midlands (1,628)
  • Greater Manchester (1,343)
  • Bristol & Gloucestershire (1,054)
  • Hampshire (943)
  • Berkshire (799)
  • Hertfordshire (678)
  • Surrey (592)
  • Nottinghamshire (561)
  • Tyne & Wear (520)
  • Sussex (503)
  • Cheshire (502)
  • Derbyshire (494)
  • Cambridgeshire (468)
  • Essex (451)
  • Lancashire (446)
  • Warwickshire (443)
  • Suffolk (421)
  • Merseyside (378)
  • Somerset & South Bristol (372)
  • Devon (361)
  • Staffordshire (352)
  • County Durham (330)
  • Wiltshire (326)
  • Leicestershire (307)
  • Kent (304)
  • Bedfordshire (300)
  • Oxfordshire (294)
  • Buckinghamshire (294)
  • Dorset (282)
  • Norfolk (271)
  • Northamptonshire (265)
  • Cumbria (261)
  • Lincolnshire (193)
  • Worcestershire (193)
  • Shropshire (135)
  • Cornwall (101)
  • Isle of Wight (43)
  • Northumberland (37)
  • Herefordshire (32)
  • Rutland (7)
  • Home working (33)
  • Not specified (81) 

Regional data: The table below shows how those stats add up regionally in the context of the local 15-24 year-old population, these figures having been made available via the very latest census data published by the ONS in June 2022. My data provides the following information:

  • the first number in bold is the latest cumulative number of vacancies for each region;
  • the big number in brackets shows the resident population of 15-24 year-olds in the region using the new ONS data and rounded to the nearest 100;
  • then the third figure in bold indexes my apprenticeship figures against the 15-24 year-old population. The ‘index’ shows the combined number of DAs and HAs since March 2020 per 1,000 of that population and the regions are then ‘ranked’ accordingly:
  •   7,383   London (1,078,600: 6.84)
  •   2,515   South West (645,800: 3.89)
  •   2,782   West Midlands (720,900: 3.86)
  •   2,589   East of England (685,300: 3.78)
  •   2,440   Yorkshire & Humber (670,800: 3.64)
  •   3,753   South East (1,040,500: 3.61)
  •   2,927   North West (884,600: 3.31)
  •   1,781   East Midlands (593,700: 3.00)
  •      924   North East (313,000: 2.95)
  •      114   Not specified / Home working
  • 27,208   Total England (6,633,200: 4.10)

Updated occupational analysis

Each week I update my occupational analysis by breaking down the new vacancies into what I loosely define as ‘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 14,054 new vacancies spread across 104 occupational areas and minimum starting salaries have ranged from £5,590 to £32,000pa. The occupational breakdown is as follows: 

2,948 Police Constables

1,241 Digital Technology Solutions (general) *see below for details

1,207 Accountancy/Tax/Audit Professionals

  703 Software Engineers/Developers

  693 Chartered Managers (general)

  582 Nurses (472 Adult, 86 Mental Health, 19 Learning Disability, 5 Child)

  538 Civil Engineers

  457 Chartered Quantity Surveyors 

  411 Data Scientists/Analysts/Engineers

  409 Project Managers

  325 Chartered Building/Property/Land Surveyors  

  276 Electrical/Electronic Engineers

  271 Design & Development Engineers

  261 Supply Chain Leaders

  221 Food Technology/Production/Manufacturing Professionals

  207 Digital Marketing Professionals

  198 Cyber Security Professionals

  173 Manufacturing Engineers

  160 Nuclear Engineers/Scientists  

  149 Financial Services Professionals

  143 Sales Professionals

  133 Building Services Design Engineers 

  124 Laboratory Scientists

  124 Professional Economists 

  119 Retail Leaders

  117 Solicitors

  113 Aerospace Engineers

  109 Environmental Practitioners

  102 Construction Managers

    95 Network Engineers

    92 Healthcare Science Practitioners (12 Cardiac Physiology, 11 Biomedical Science, 11 Nuclear Medicine Technology, 10 Medical & Clinical Engineering, 10 Neurophysiology, 8 Radiation & Radiotherapy Engineering, 8 Respiratory Physiology & Sleep Science, 7 Radiation & Radiotherapy Physics, 5 Audiology, 5 Digital Healthcare Science, 3 Bioinformatics, 1 Rehabilitation Engineering, 1 Renal Specialist)

    75 Hospital Operating Department Practitioners  

    75 Railway/Rail Systems Engineers

    72 Digital User Experience (UX) Design Professionals

    62 Control Engineers

    60 Non-Destructive Testing Engineers

    46 Electro-Mechanical/Mechatronics Engineers

    43 Materials Scientists/Technologists/Engineers

    42 Radiographers (28 Diagnostic, 14 Therapeutic)

    40 Hospitality Managers

    40 Internal Audit Professionals

    39 Town Planners

    38 Manufacturing & Production Managers (non-food)        

    36 Clinical Trials Specialists

    36 Occupational Therapists

    34 Creative Digital Design Professionals   

    32 Broadcast/Media Systems Engineers

    30 Recruitment Professionals

    29 Podiatrists

    28 Building Control Surveyors

    27 Business Analysts

    27 Social Workers 

    25 Chemical Engineers     

    25 Packaging Professionals 

    23 Chartered Rural Surveyors

    22 Transport Planners    

    21 Environmental Health Officers

    21 Project Control Professionals

    20 Human Resources Professionals  

    19 Weapons Munitions & Explosives Engineers

    17 Architectural Technologists

    17 Journalists

    15 Architectural Assistants

    15 Geotechnical Engineers

    15 Junior Traders (Global Financial Markets)     

    15 Professional Foresters

    15 Public Health Practitioners

    14 Marketing Managers

    13 GIS / Geospatial Mapping & Surveying Professionals

    11 Insurance Professionals

    11 Physiotherapists

      9 Business Managers (Social Change)

      8 Agricultural/Horticultural Advisers

      8 Gas Transmission Engineers

      8 Propulsion Engineers

      6 Actuarial Professionals

      6 Sport Development Officers

      5 Chartered Legal Executives   

      5 Fire Safety Engineers

      5 Operations Analysts

      4 Assistant Teachers / Learning Coaches

      4 Compliance & Risk Specialists

      4 Speech & Language Therapists

      3 Building Information Modelling (BIM) Specialists

      3 Buying & Procurement Professionals

      3 Digital Transformation Engineers

      3 Fitness/Leisure Centre Managers

      3 TV Production Managers

      2 Career Development 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 Investment Banking Specialist

      1 Lighting Designer

      1 Marine Engineer

      1 Population Health Intelligence Analyst

      1 Prosthetist & Orthotist     

*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, Technical/Tech Consultant, Functional Consultant, Project Manager, Project Co-ordinator, Business Intelligence Specialist, Business Systems Engineer/Developer, Automation Developer, Automation Test Developer, Full Stack Developer, Digital Developer, Digital Solutions Architect, Technology Architect, Technology Manager, Innovation Technologist, Innovation Design Analyst, Agile Analyst, Applications Support Analyst, Technical Support Analyst, Business Analyst, Global Mobility Analyst, Content Analyst, Security Operations Analyst, Process Mining Analyst, SAP Analyst, User Experience Researcher, Junior Product Manager, Infrastructure Specialist, FinTech Specialist, DevOps Engineer, Solutions Engineer, Digital Solutions Engineer, Systems Engineer, Automation Engineer, IT 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, Support Desk Analyst, IT Support Analyst, IT Service Desk Analyst, IT Technician, Computing Technician, WordPress Developer, Technology Operations & Service Delivery Specialist, 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 13,154 new vacancies spread across 131 occupational areas and minimum starting salaries have ranged from £5,590 to £35,000pa. The occupational breakdown is as follows: 

1,258 Sales Executives

1,055 Software Developers 

  981 Data Analysts

  951 Project Management Associates

  901 Trainee Accountants / Accounting Technicians

  461 School/Community Sports Coaches    

  380 Manufacturing Engineering Technicians 

  376 Construction Site Supervisors

  365 Nursing Associates

  357 Business Analysts  

  313 Taxation Technicians

  311 Network Engineers

  276 Software Testers

  250 Quantity Surveying Technicians  

  244 Public Relations & Communications Assistants

  232 Retail Assistant Managers

  225 Cyber Security Technologists

  215 Civil/Site Engineering Technicians

  214 Commercial Procurement & Supply Practitioners

  189 Building Services Engineering Technicians

  188 Children/Youth/Family Practitioners

  185 Buying & Merchandising Specialists

  175 Electrical/Electronic Engineering Technicians

  172 Technician Scientists

  169 Government Policy Officers

  155 Insurance Practitioners  

  146 Investment Operations Specialists

  132 Marketing Executives

  131 Associate Ambulance Practitioners

  120 DevOps Engineers

  111 Regulatory Compliance Officers

    93 Early Years Lead Practitioners

    83 Construction Design & Build Technicians

    79 Junior Management Consultants

    77 Food Technology/Engineering/Production Technicians 

    77 Nuclear Technicians

    76 Healthcare Science Associates (18 Audiology & Hearing Aid Dispensers, 15 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 Neurophysiology, 1 Rehabilitation Engineering, 1 Tissue Retrieval)  

    76 Human Resources Specialists     

    73 Mineral Products Technicians 

    71 Quality Practitioners

    67 Recruitment Resourcers/Consultants

    61 Financial Advisers/Paraplanners   

    47 Healthcare Associate Practitioners (general/unspecified)

    45 Adult Social Care Lead Practitioners       

    45 Internal Audit Practitioners   

    44 Hospitality Managers

    44 Vehicle Damage Assessors     

    43 Actuarial Technicians

    39 Brewers 

    38 Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability Practitioners

    38 Intelligence Analysts

    35 Automotive Engineering/Propulsion Technicians

    34 TV/Media Production Co-ordinators

    32 Automation & Control Engineers

    31 Business Improvement Practitioners 

    31 Dairy Technologists

    31 Learning/Skills & Development Practitioners

    31 Revenue & Welfare Benefits Officers    

    28 Journalists

    28 Railway Engineering Technicians

    26 Ordnance Munitions & Explosives Technicians

    23 Operations Managers   

    21 Estate Agency Negotiators

    21 Housing/Property/Lettings 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 Digital Community Managers

    11 Hygiene Specialists

    10 Football Coaches

    10 Information Managers    

      9 Naval Architects / Marine Engineering Technicians

      9 Railway/Passenger Transport Operations Managers

      8 Acoustics Technicians

      8 Emergency Medical Technicians 

      8 Film/TV Post-Production Technical Operators

      7 Computer Games Developers

      7 Counter Fraud Investigators    

      7 Employability Practitioners

      6 Facilities Managers

      6 Fire Safety Inspectors

      6 School Business Professionals     

      5 Architectural Technicians

      5 BEMS Controls Engineers (Building Energy Management Systems)

      5 Market Research Executives

      5 Rehabilitation Officers (Visual Impairment) 

      5 Visual Merchandisers

      4 Aircraft Certifying Technicians

      4 Gymnastics/Trampoline Coaches / Rebound Therapists

      4 Unified Communications Trouble Shooters

      3 Fashion & Textiles Technologists

      3 Pensions Administrators

      3 Port Marine Operations Officers

      3 Senior Culinary Chefs

      3 Space Engineering Technicians

      3 Sports Development Officers   

      3 Utilities Technicians

      2 Applications Support Leads

      2 Arboriculturists      

      2 Auctioneers

      2 Building Information Modelling (BIM) Technicians

      2 Community Safety Officers (Antisocial Behaviour)

      2 Dental 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 Cultural Heritage Conservation Technician

      1 Customs & Foreign Exchange Expert

      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 during the summer, usually on Sundays or Mondays.

As from 1st June I have also started to track Degree and Higher Apprenticeships in Wales and Northern Ireland and Level 6/7 apprenticeships in Scotland. I’ve always been very conscious that my blog only covers England and I intend to redress this with occasional reports starting soon.

© Alan Bullock Careers, 31/7/2022


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