Record 370,000 want to join apprenticeships

With almost 1 million youngsters looking for work, every vacancy attracts 11 applications

Competition for apprenticeships is now so intense that 41 young people are applying for every plumbing position, figures show.

Almost 370,000 people submitted online applications to the National Apprenticeship Service between February and April, an increase of 32 per cent on the same period in 2012. Vacancies also increased by 15 per cent, to almost 33,000, but demand far outstripped supply.

Pressure on apprentice positions has grown as the number of 16-24 year-olds out of work approaches one million. The ratio of applicants to vacancies was 9.8 during the same period last year - now it has reached a record high of 11.31.

Business and administration apprenticeships were the most popular, with more than 100,000 applications for around 7,000 vacancies.  Plumbing and heating was the most competitive field, with an average of 41 applicants for every vacancy. Animal care was also tough to break into, with more than 26 applicants for every apprenticeship.

The Skills Minister, Matthew Hancock, said: “With more vacancies than ever before, apprenticeships are fast becoming the norm for young people who want to achieve their career goals through an alternative route to University. We want more employers to take advantage of the advice and support available from the National Apprenticeship Service and consider how hiring an apprentice could benefit their business.”

However, Labour said the widening gap between the number of applicants and positions available was worrying. Gordon Marsden MP, Shadow Minister for further education, skills and regional growth, said: “At a time when there are almost one million young people out of work, creating new quality apprenticeships was a key test for David Cameron. But today’s figures show that as demand massively outstrips supply, this Tory-led Government has failed to deliver the apprenticeships this country needs.”

London recorded the biggest growth in the number of online apprenticeships advertised, with 4,210 vacancies posted by employers, a year on year increase of more than 29 per cent. The South Central and Central Eastern regions posted around 25 per cent more vacancies in 2013 than at the same time last year.

The capital also had the most competition for each online vacancy, with potential apprentices submitting almost 74,000 applications – an average of 17 applications for every job.

David Way, Executive Director of the National Apprenticeship Service, said: “These figures show that the popularity of apprenticeships continues to rise and in a greater range of occupations than before. The increase in vacancies shows that more and more individuals are seeing apprenticeships as a great way to start out in their chosen career. Employers increasingly recognise that hiring apprentices is a great way of attracting new talent and developing a motivated, skilled and diverse workforce.”

Among the fastest growing apprenticeships, in terms of the percentage increase in vacancies advertised online, are vehicle sales, which had a 916 per cent increase year on year, and the power industry, where vacancies are up 840 per cent.

Case study: There’s so much competition you must stand out 

Sana Khan, 18, East London

“I’ve been applying for apprentice places in media and film for three months. I quit studying psychology at Roehampton University in February because university just seemed too casual. I’m still waiting to find out if I’ve been successful. I hadn’t realised there would be so many other people applying. Not a lot of media companies do apprenticeships. It’s becoming more and more competitive so you have to stand out.”

 

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Software Development Manager

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Ashdown Group: Product Manager - (Product Marketing, Financial Services)

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Assistant

£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established ...

Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive

£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee