The boss of the National Apprenticeship Service said that more consumers and employers “are recognising the benefits of apprenticeships”.

David Way, chief executive of the service, spoke out as new figures revealed that 26 per cent more places were open to apprentices applying online from November 2012 to January 2013 than the previous year.

There has been a huge boom too in the number of online applications, which make up 80 per cent of those submitted. They were up to 277,40 — a 41 per cent increase in a year.

Mr Way said: “It is great to see such significant growth in both apprenticeship applications and vacancies submitted, and advertised online in just one year.

“Apprenticeships are a great way for young people and adult learners to earn while they learn in a real job, gaining a real qualification; and setting them on the road to success in their chosen career. For employers, hiring apprentices is a way of attracting new talent and developing a motivated, skilled and diverse workforce.”

Business and administration continued to be the most popular apprenticeship, with 82,290 applications made, followed by childcare with 21,760 applications. IT, software, web and telecoms kept its number four slot  with 16,840 applications, while hospitality and catering leapt up a place after being the sixth most popular choice the year before.

Business and administration apprenticeships topped the vacancy list with 6,460 posted online, followed by customer services, then IT. Childcare came in fourth; hospitality and catering, fifth.

As apprenticeships continue to grow in popularity, it is important we can offer a range of ways for people to find and apply for vacancies.”

The data also showed that employers in London advertised the most vacancies during the winter period with 3,970, followed by the West Midlands with 3,040 and Greater Manchester with 2,810.

London registered the most apprenticeship applications with 60,490, followed by the West Midlands (36,130) and Greater Manchester (26,690).

The Liverpool City region had the biggest increase in apprenticeship applications in the past year, up  59 per cent  from 10,160 in Q2 2011/12 to 16,160 in Q2 2012/13.  The second highest leap was 54 per cent in Yorkshire and the Humber.

Mr Way also pointed to a new app (see right) that makes it easier to look for a vacancy. “As apprenticeships continue to grow in popularity, it is important we can offer a range of ways for people to find and apply for vacancies. AV Search makes that process even easier and as accessible as possible,” he said.

The AV app is targeted at 16-24 year olds and potential apprentices aged 25 and over.  However, it can also be used as a tool for parents/guardians, training providers, careers advisors, schools and colleges as well as employers.

The app can be downloaded from the iTunes and Android app stores and is free from adverts.


This article was published in a special 16 page National Apprenticeship Week 2013 supplement (click on image below to download 15mb PDF)