Why Are Apprenticeships Growing in Popularity?

In the past few months you’d probably have seen the latest, ongoing campaigns promoting degree and higher level apprenticeships. This is due to the significant changes in apprenticeship schemes to make them more appealing to prospective employers. You may also be interested to know that in the wake of rising there has been a 140% rise in enquiries to the “National Apprenticeship Service”. Along with this rise, there has also been a 10% increase amongst parents suggesting apprenticeships as the route of employment to their children. This comes alongside the suggest Trailblazer Apprenticeship scheme the government is currently proposing.



These campaigns conducted by the government rank among the best for their responses and recall. But, perhaps one should not be too surprised. This is mainly because when government and industry work together, the chances of success are improved based on the obvious benefits to employers and their organisation, as well as young people.


Currently apprenticeships are uncontested as a top priority on the government’s agenda with the aim of creating around 3 million new aprenticeship starters by 2020. However, a change in attitude as new industries embrace apprenticeships is also being hailed as they are now recognised as a crucial path to high level skills by employers.


Here are some reasons why apprentices have grown in popularity:


  • Improving Workforce Skills


Anecdotes have shown that apprenticeships are a potential route for success for all businesses. But, why? The reason is because apprenticeships allow talented individuals to shine in real work environments, outside an educational setting. As an employer, you’re probably most interested in results and you’ll want to ensure that you can find the right skills for your business. By taking on apprentices you fill short term skills gaps but can also plan for future business needs and mould your apprentice accordingly.


When degree apprenticeships were introduced by the government, it created a whole new path to acquire Level 6 and 7 qualifications. These levels are equivalent in many ways to full bachelors or master’s degree. This has in turn benefitted employers, as they have now got the opportunity to provide apprenticeship training at a higher education level, thereby letting their staff progress from junior to senior roles whilst at work.


  • Beneficial to the Individual


For young and passionate people who are new to the workforce, there are numerous positive outcomes, such as work experience, enhanced career prospects and avoidance of student debt. What’s good for the apprentice is often turn out to be good news for employers, who are looking to recruit fresh and enthusiastic talent. Additionally, the older staff who have already started their career journey are often keen to support and learn from apprentices.


According to various studies, around 43% of new apprentices were people aged 25 plus, of which, 11% were over 60. This reveals the hunger people have to develop new skills and/or change careers. But, ultimately this is good news for employers, as they are looking to fill critical skill gaps in their organisation.


  • Setting Up an Apprenticeship Standard


A shift in attitude towards apprenticeships wouldn’t have been possible if employers didn’t shift their perception towards apprentices. This is where the new apprenticeships standards have helped. Trailblazer groups (group of employers representing their sector) have been given the opportunity to create a set of standards in the UK, aligned to their specific occupational competency.


Degree and higher apprenticeship standards have been developed specifically to raise and standardise industry skill levels, as well as competency of various occupations. These standards are assisting businesses to build-up a skills pipeline in order to fulfil their future hiring needs. At present, around 147 new standards have been approved for delivery, but employers can expect as many as 1,600.


Finally, we can’t discount the financial benefits of apprentices. It allows small businesses to hire extremely talented individuals without the associated costs and commitment of taking on experienced professionals.


Employers also tend to find that apprentices are more loyal in comparison to other employees, thus creating lower recruiting expenses. And, what’s more beneficial than offering apprenticeships to young talent who can help your business expand?



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March 30, 2017

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