Apprenticeship enrollment doubles in five-year span

The number of apprenticeships starts in May 2015 has been 2,373,100, however, the total figure since May 2010 is double that at 4,750,700.

As of the 2020/2021 academic year. higher apprenticeships accounted for nearly a third of starts (31.7%), and intermediate apprenticeships counted for a quarter of starts. (25.6%)

Meanwhile, under 19’s accounted for 23.9% of starts.

The apprenticeship sectors with the highest increase of starts were business, health and engineering-related.

In 2020/20201, Business, Administration and Law apprenticeship starts increased by 30.1%, an increase from 29.1% in the previous academic year.

Health, Public services and Care saw an increase of 27.3% from 21.7% in the previous academic year, a good sign that more individuals are embarking on a career in medicine as the NHS is currently suffering a shortage of 42,000 nurses.

Finally, Engineering and Manufacturing technologies apprenticeships saw an increase of 12.8%, however, this figure was a decrease from 17.9% in the previous academic year, illustrating a problem for the UK economy as there are not enough young people going into these STEM-related fields as there is a shortfall of about 37,000 and 59,000 engineers.

Nevertheless, the increasing number of young people embarking upon apprenticeships is increasing the occupational mobility of labour within the UK.

This is because apprenticeships offer an alternative to university for individuals who do not have the funds to go to a University or simply have decided that the risk associated with student loans is not worth it.

Some young people may also like the idea of being financially independent at an early age, or may just think the University lifestyle is just not for them.

Either way, the increasing number of individuals going into apprenticeships is great for the UK economy as apprenticeships offer young people extra opportunities to upskill by going into higher education.

This increases the occupational mobility of labour as young people who upskill will allow them to transfer the skills they learnt into other industries more easily, additionally, a higher-skilled workforce leads to increased output per person, leading to long-term economic growth.

Not only do apprenticeships offer young people to upskill, but they may also be a key player in solving the North and South divide.

Due to the lack of student loans associated with apprenticeships, as well as the promise of earning a good wage at the start of your career, apprenticeships are a much more risk-free option compared to University.

This makes them incredibly attractive for Northern regions which typically have lower incomes compared to their Southern counterparts.

Hence, when the data is compiled, there is no coincidence that Northern regions have seen a larger quantity of apprentices compared to the Southern ones.

The sum of all apprentice starts from the North East, North West and Yorkshire and Humber regions are 50300 in the academic year of 2020/2021, this is higher compared to the sum of London, South East and Southwest which totals to 44700.

Hence, due to the majority of apprenticeships stemming from fields such as business, health services and engineering, which are all industries with low supplies of labour, it is likely the Northern regions will see an increase in average incomes.

This is because the low labour supply drives wages up to incentivise more workers to enter said fields. Therefore, because more young people are entering higher-earning professions, the North and South income divide will become less noticeable.

With an increasing disposable income within the Northern regions, businesses will be encouraged to set up in the North as there will be consumers with a good amount of money to spend on goods and services.

Therefore, the increasing amount of apprenticeship starts from the North will aid in the efforts of levelling up Northern regions, bettering the relative poverty rates within the North to its southern counterparts.

So, overall, the large increase in apprenticeship enrollment will result in the increase in living standards of many individuals within the economy, especially in Northern regions, as they will see a significant increase in disposable incomes, thus playing a large contributing factor in lessening the North and South divide and decentralising the economy away from London.


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