A RECORD number of apprenticeships are being offered by firms in England, ranging from nursing to fisheries management, a new report has showed.
The National Apprenticeship Service said up to 15,000 places will be available to students receiving their exam results this summer.
And the North East is leading the charge to create apprenticeships with numbers created in August to April rising 92% to 27,792 over the last two years.
The figures outstrip the national increase of 71% to 383,187 over the same period. Each apprenticeship is now attracting about seven applicants, the report added. The NAS believes the increase is rising even more quickly over the last couple of months and will offer many more students a chance to improve their skills and earn when their results come in.
The growth in this region was boosted by NAS campaign with the Journal to create as many apprentices as possible over 100 days. At the end of the 100 Days: the Apprenticeship Challenge companies had worked with the organisation to create an extra 2,526 in the region. The North East was the most successful of the regions where the campaign ran.
Alan Wallace, head of employer accounts for the NAS, said: “For a strong and growing economy we must have a high level of skills to meet employer demand and apprenticeships are a vital way of achieving this.
“The National Apprenticeship Service is not only committed to increasing the number and range of apprenticeships on offer, but also to ensuring the quality of apprenticeships, which is so key to this growth.”
“We were once again overwhelmed by the level of support for the campaign by North East businesses.
”Apprenticeships are an extremely cost-effective way of developing staff and offer a significant return on investment.”
Apprenticeships range from traditional subjects such as nursing, computing, horticulture and electric vehicle engineering, to new industries such as life science and supply chain management.
The number of applicants has increased since the introduction of more Higher Apprenticeships, which go up to degree level, plans to ensure every apprenticeship meets rigorous new standards, the launch of a new financial incentive for small firms who hire apprentices and the introduction of a high-profile national annual skills and careers event, The Skills Show.
The development of Higher Apprenticeships is backed by £25m Government funding and the first round of bids resulted in the development of 19,000 new Higher Apprenticeship places through 250 employers around the country.