HomePeopleTalentApprenticeshipsUK sees 46% drop in new apprenticeship starts during lockdown

UK sees 46% drop in new apprenticeship starts during lockdown

by LLB staff reporter
10th Dec 20 1:22 pm

A new study from Small Business Prices has analysed the best industries for apprenticeships, the highest-rated employers for apprenticeships, as well as how these have been affected by COVID-19

December 2020: Small Business Prices has created a study looking at the best industries for apprentices. The data analyses the number of apprenticeship starts and completions for different courses, the best and worst salaries offered in each industry, as well as the top-rated companies for apprenticeships. It also examines the impact COVID-19 has had on apprenticeships and reveals which industries have been affected the most by the pandemic.

As Universities become increasingly expensive to attend, and the job market particularly competitive in the current climate, prospective students may consider other career paths, such as an apprenticeship. However, with so many options, it can be difficult to choose which industry is the most suitable. The table below shows the top 5 industries for apprentices:

The five best industries for apprenticeships:

IndustryApprenticeships Started (2019-20)Apprenticeships Completed (2019-20)Average Salary
Business Management41,08813,880£18,268
Health and Social Care43,39917,061£14,795
Accounting and Finance19,6326,278£14,497

Health and Social care rank top of the list and has the highest number of completions across all industries. On the other end of the scale, Animal Care and Veterinary Science, Media and Communications, and Marketing don’t rank well, due to low salaries, as well as having notably fewer apprenticeship starts and completions.

Small Business Prices has evaluated the average salaries prospective apprentices can expect in each industry, revealing both the best and the worst paying.

The top and bottom industries for apprenticeship salaries:

RankBest salariesWorst salaries
1Direct Learning Support – £27,669Animal & Veterinary Science – £8,476
2Teaching & Lecturing – £24,143Media & Communications – £10,438
3Hospitality & Catering – £22,072Horticulture & Forestry – £11,500
4Engineering – £21,427Publishing – £11,789
5Transport & Maintenance – £21,329Marketing & Sales – £13,257

When solely considering salary, apprenticeships in Direct Learning Support (which provides support to teachers) and teaching perform particularly well, with an average salary between £24,000-£27,000. Although animal and veterinary science offers the worst salary, it is important to consider the expected earning potential, as a fully qualified vet can earn between £40,000-£70,000.

The effect of COVID-19 on apprenticeships

The world is continuing to feel the effects of the coronavirus as we try to navigate through these uncertain times. With the most recent restrictions, job security is a concern once again, especially for apprentices who particularly felt the effects of the first wave of COVID-19. This raises the question, which industries have suffered the most?

RankIndustryApprenticeship Starts (March – July 2019)Apprenticeship Starts (March – July 2020)COVID-19 difference in startsCOVID-19 % decrease in starts
1Health and Social Care24,05812,99511,06346%
3Business Management17,78510,7547,03140%
4Hospitality and Catering7,7602,3495,41170%
5Child Development and Wellbeing9,6674,4065,26154%
6Manufacturing Technologies5,9932,5573,43657%
7Retailing and Wholesaling4,9301,5263,40469%
8Service Enterprises4,3001,0463,25476%
9Accounting and Finance5,7692,7363,03353%
10ICT Practitioners6,5184,0372,48138%

Overall, the number of apprenticeship starts during the initial lockdown, 23 March to 31 July 2020 dropped by 45.5% compared to the same period last year. Health and Social Care was the worst-hit industry, with 11,063 (46%) fewer starts between March and July in 2020, compared to the same period in 2019. Other industries have also seen a decline in apprenticeships: Administration (62%), Business Management (40%), Hospitality & Catering (70%) and Child Development & Wellbeing (54%) have all felt the effects of the pandemic.

Small Business Prices’ research also identified the best employers for apprenticeships in the UK. RateMyApprenticeship analysed feedback from over 4,000 apprentices in 2018 to determine the best companies for apprenticeships. These include:

  1. MOTUS Commercials – Business
  2. BAE Systems – Engineering/ Manufacturing
  3. Mitchells & Butlers – Hospitality, Leisure and Tourism
  4. M&G – Insurance, Asset and Investment Management
  5. BT – IT & Consultancy

Ian Wright, Founder of Small Business Prices said, “Initial data released in July 2020 showed that apprenticeship starts had decreased by 50% compared with last year, but the final data set for 2020 showed a slightly less daunting figure at 46%. Despite the small uplift in apprenticeship starts, it is clear that the education landscape has been hit hard by COVID-19, with students now relying on virtual lessons and an on-screen relationship with teachers.

“But even during the pandemic, apprenticeships are an amazing opportunity for so many young people for whom going to university isn’t the right choice. It’s vital that younger generations should not have to suffer because of this. Companies will need support and guidance, both financially and with regards to best practice, to encourage young people to take up apprenticeships again even while the pandemic situation remains uncertain.”

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