Network Rail apprentices

Apprenticeships continue to prove popular

Figures from the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) show that apprenticeships continue to be popular both among the public and employers.

Analysis of 2012 NAS apprenticeship vacancies figures show that online there were almost 1.3 million apprenticeship applications submitted, and over 106,000 vacancies advertised. Engineering was one of the industries that generated the most applications, with over 200,000 people applying for roles.

“The high number of applications generated in 2012 is further evidence of just how popular apprenticeships have become,” says NAS chief executive David Way. “The quality training on offer means apprenticeships are fast becoming a first choice career option for a wide range of people.

“In 2013 we hope to see further growth in the number of new vacancies registered online through our free recruitment service and an increase in the number of apprenticeships available in key industry sectors such as the digital and creative industries, engineering and IT."

Awarding organisation EAL believes the high application figures may in part be related to learners being put off higher education due to higher tuition fees.

“Demand for higher education weakened last year when higher tuition fees were rolled out, while apprenticeships went from strength to strength,” noted EAL managing director Ann Watson. “While work still needs to be done, the public perception of apprenticeships is slowly shifting, aligning the vocational pathway with higher education as a valuable pathway into a fulfilling, highly skilled career. Manufacturing apprenticeships, in particular, proved extremely popular, with over 40,000 applications for 3,500 places advertised on the NAS database.

“The NAS figures reveal a huge gap in supply and demand – with applications far outweighing vacancies. More needs to be done to promote apprenticeships to employers, support them to take on apprentices, and make them aware of the support that is already available.”

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