To be honest, we weren’t sure where to start with this blog post. We complete an annual review of the apprenticeship landscape each year, but the events of the last 12 months and the impact this has had on careers, employment and apprenticeships has been somewhat catastrophic. It has been hard to digest, analyse and review but we are going to do our best.
How has COVID-19 affected the apprenticeship landscape?
Apprenticeships took the worst hit at the beginning of the pandemic in early 2020, there were just 34,690 starts between 23 March and 30 June 2020, down by 38,110 or 52.3 % on the same period in 2019. Apprenticeship starts for young people aged 16-18 have been hit hardest. There were 7,740 fewer apprenticeship starts over this period in 2020 than the previous year, a decline of 73.2%.
However, in July 2020, the UK Government announced hiring incentives for employers worth up to £2,000. This is paid to companies who take on apprentices aged under 25. This was the catalyst for apprenticeship recruitment to begin to incline and, fortunately, the time period from August 2020-January 2021 saw 161,900 apprenticeship starts. Although still down 18.5% on the same period in 2019-2020, you can clearly see that the number has far improved from that mentioned above for data in March-June.
The Government’s employer incentive scheme means that both large, national employers and small to medium size businesses are able to access support to reignite their apprenticeship programme. We are proud to say that as of June 2021, we have 1,500+ live apprenticeship opportunities on the Not Going To Uni website.
How did Not Going To Uni support employers, parents/carers and young people?
Throughout the pandemic, we have done our best to continue to support young people to find apprenticeships and, whilst opportunities weren’t immediately available, there were still ways we were, and are, able to support. We have outlined these below:
Advice Blog - We have continued to provide several blogs every week to help young people find their way around apprenticeships, identifying opportunities and finding the right position for them and their career development.
YouTube video series - We have several series of videos that cover a wide range of topics including; when and how to tell your employer about your disability, choosing a career, finding an apprenticeship & many more! These videos have been accessed by students independently as well as utilised in the classroom and in career meetings to support career guidance.
Instagram Lives - Our team of NGTU ambassadors who are apprentices in a range of industries have been running live instagram events that young people can tune into to learn more about different careers and gain advice on finding opportunities.
TikTok Tip Videos - We have also created a TikTok where our ambassadors share their top tips on a range of helpful subjects in short, easy to follow videos. Just search “notgoingtouni” on TikTok to find us!
Virtual Work Experience - In partnership with Speakers for Schools, we have been actively working to promote students participation in virtual work experience opportunities as we understand the importance these experiences have on their ability to see where their skills fit within an industry.
Partnered with Amazing Apprenticeships to launch The Parent Perspective Podcast - We identified that parents and carers have the biggest influence on their young people’s decision making processes. Therefore, we created a podcast aimed at parents and carers to allow them access to key information about alternative routes to employment. Apprenticeships have changed a lot over the years and this podcast aims to help parents/carers of children aged 11+ to understand the apprenticeship landscape.
What is the landscape looking like moving forward?
It is likely that within the post pandemic apprenticeship, we will see an increase in the number of roles with a STEM focus. I am sure you have noticed that Technology is playing a bigger part of our world, most of your grandparents can probably video call now! Therefore, investments into technology, and apprenticeship within this industry, are going to be huge.
Likewise, one of the heroes of the pandemic has been the scientists that worked tirelessly to find a vaccine. The need for people with a science specialism will only increase. This is the same for engineering as our world has a need for the constant creation of new initiatives, software and products to overcome worldwide challenges.
It will remain competitive to find apprenticeship opportunities, but like all good things, it will be worth it. Keep working hard and you will find the right opportunity!