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UK IT Apprenticeships On The Rise

Michael Moore joined TechWeek Europe in January 2014 as a trainee before graduating to Reporter later that year. He covers a wide range of topics, including but not limited to mobile devices, wearable tech, the Internet of Things, and financial technology.

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13 percent growth in placements compared to 2012 shows opportunities are growing

New research has shown that IT apprenticeships in the UK are growing in number thanks to an upsurge of interest in the sector.

Data released today from the National Apprenticeship Service has shown that vacancies for apprenticeships in Information and Communication Technology increased by 13 percent between August and October 2013 compared to the same period in the previous year.

In total, 1920 vacancies were advertised over those three months (the education sector’s first quarter) compared to just 1700 during the same period in 2012, according to the quarterly Apprenticeship Index.

However, this growth coincided with a 42 percent increase in applications, with every vacancy now attracting an average of 20 applications, a total of 37,690 overall for the three months.

London saw the greatest increase in vacancies in the sector, with a 53 percent rise in the number of opportunities available, while the North West recorded the biggest jump in applications, seeing 76 percent more applicants over the period.

Kindergarten children learning how to use computers © Monkey Business - FotoliaFemale appeal

The Index also found that applications from female candidates across all industries are on the rise.  Online applications from women  increased by more than half since 2012, with 216,100 applications made by females across all industries in the three month period, a 55 percent increase.

This meant that the overall gap between male and female applicants continued to fall, with 47 percent of all applications for apprenticeships made by females last year compared to 43 percent the previous year.

The Government is urging employers to offer more apprenticeships to meet this demand to ensure that prospective candidates are not left behind.

“These figures show that apprenticeships are growing in appeal to young people, and yet more young women are seeking out this unique opportunity to earn while they learn and gain a recognised qualification while notching up vital work experience,” Matthew Hancock MP, Skills and Enterprise Minister, said of the results.

“With new independent research revealing that one in five employers currently have former apprentices working in senior, board level, positions, it’s also very encouraging to see vacancies increasing and new employers coming on board. But with each online position attracting an average of 12 applications, demand continues to outstrip supply and I would urge more employers to consider how they can take advantage of this available pool of talent and grow their business through apprenticeships.”

Apprenticeships are seen as a key way of boosting interest around the IT sector in young people, with several existing schemes already in place. The programmes are being embraced by some major companies, such as Microsoft, which runs a major apprentice scheme, and EE , which has pledged to take on 500 apprentices by 2015.

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