The last 12 months have been tough on all of us, with life taking an unexpected turn that no one saw coming. But with the roadmap unfolding, furloughed staff returning to work, and ‘normal’ life resuming, many others have begun searching for new career paths.
Apprenticeships were directly impacted by COVID-19 and lockdown measures, with 23,000 fewer people participating in an apprenticeship in 2019/20 compared to previous years. But with Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak promising a boost in support for apprentices and businesses keen to attract fresh blood into their industries, we will see these numbers begin to grow.
Recent Google search data already shows an increase across the country in searches for apprenticeships, with some industries being more popular than others. As the data also shows where in the country these searches are coming from, the regional differences in the approach to apprenticeships have really been highlighted.
Searches for customer service apprenticeships have seen the biggest growth across the UK, up 130% on last year. Specifically in London, where there has been a 233% increase in the search, it’s clear to see that with many customer service roles now fully based at home, habitants of our capital city are grabbing the chance to ditch the commute! Additionally, the glitz and glam of London is as attractive as ever, which is clear in the 128% increase in beauty apprenticeships in London. This isn’t surprising really when you see that the beauty industry has continued to grow year on year, and the demand for pampering treatments has only increased thanks to lockdown. Yet overall, London is the lowest region and city for apprenticeships searches per capita –Why are apprenticeships not as popular in London?
Tradesmen apprenticeships top the searches in the North, with electrician apprenticeships being the most searched for across the whole of the UK. Liverpool was the highest searching city for electrician apprenticeships at 300 searches a month, yet Cardiff had an increase of 300%. Wales has been hit hard by redundancies that have risen from the pandemic, with the latest figures from the Office of National Statistics showing that the country had an increase of 71% of people now claiming universal credit since March 2020.
Whilst some northern cities are bursting at the seams with rejuvenation and rebirth, Manchester had a record-breaking year for house building – even during a pandemic – and its clear people are aware of the demand, with a 500% increase in bricklaying apprenticeships in Manchester. The demand for fresh talent in the industry is there.
Newcastle sees the biggest growth in searches for chef/cooking apprenticeships which shows an increase in the hospitality sector. Before the spread of COVID-19, there was already a growing interest in young people’s interest in food and drink, with plant-based diets accelerating. Under lockdown restrictions, many have found more time to create their restaurant favourites at home and make healthier choices, with two in five saying the pandemic has led them to more nutritious diets. Newcastle, like many cities, has a buzzing restaurant scene and also offers a plethora of apprenticeships in the industry, and with many picking up their skills at home it’s clear to see why the profession is so popular.
It’s evident that apprenticeships differ across the country, but with workforces returning to offices and many returning to business as usual, the apprenticeship shall soon rise again as the UK leaves lockdown behind. With government backing and support, many businesses will see the benefit of working with apprentices, for both employers and employees.