The number of people starting ICT apprenticeships has rebounded over the past year but enrolments are still 16.6 percent below the 2011/12 peak, according to research by SJD Accountancy, a contractor services provider.
According to data obtained from the Skills Funding Agency, the number of ICT apprenticeships starts jumped by 18.2 percent, from 13,060 in 2013/14 to 15,440 in 2014/15. Despite the surge in the numbers starting apprenticeships over the past year, enrolments are still well below the 2011/12 peak when 18,520 workers started ICT apprenticeships.
According to SJD, the number of applicants for every ICT apprenticeship has declined over the past year. There were 124,640 applications in 2014/15, just over eight for every place. That contrasts with 2013/14, when there were over 10 applications for every apprenticeship.
“Efforts by the Government to increase the number of apprenticeships have been patchy but now seem to be achieving a measure of success. While it is encouraging that the four-year decline in the number of people starting ICT apprenticeships has at last been reversed, the number of opportunities is still significantly below what it was during the depths of the recession,” commented Simon Curry, CEO of SJD Accountancy.
“Demand for tech skills is forecast to grow twice as fast as the UK average over the next few years, so increasing the talent pipeline will be vital to meeting that demand. Apprenticeships are a key component of that pipeline, but in places like London where demand for tech skills is particularly robust, apprenticeships places are extremely hard to come by.”
He adds: “For a lot of young people apprenticeships are an important route into the IT industry. They are also a very effective way for employers to equip people with the latest skills and can ease recruitment difficulties further down the line, particularly for SMEs who often struggle to compete for skills.”