Over the course of 2017, we have seen a change in the way apprenticeships work. The introduction of the levy this year is encouraging employers to take on apprentices and training them, developing their employability and providing them with invaluable work experience.

Quality work experience is one of the most important factors to employers when considering applicants, with 68% of employers (that were interviewed) reporting that work experience was critical or significant. This is of major importance as 31% of young people starting their working lives do not feel they have the appropriate skills, citing a lack of work experience (71%) as being their main weakness. If employers’ desire work experience and young people feel they lack experience, then apprenticeships are the way forward in solving this.

2017 really has been a year for changing individuals, parents and employers perceptions of apprenticeships as the government pledged to create 200,000 apprenticeships by 2020. Awareness of degree apprenticeships has also increased with over 20 universities across the UK offering Degree Apprenticeships including Manchester Metropolitan University and Salford University.

The first graduation for degree apprentices took place this year (July) at Aston University. Hopefully this has encouraged a variety of people to view traditional university courses equal to Higher and Degree Apprenticeships.

The perception that apprenticeships are only available in blue collar industries (construction, engineering etc.) is becoming old news as new standards are available or in development in a range of sectors such as Business, catering and STEM, to name only a few.

Apprenticeships are not easy work! On average, 12 applications are received per vacancy. During the 2016-2017 academic year, there were 509,400 apprenticeship starts across the UK. That is a lot of competition!

With the new academic year in full swing, hopefully apprenticeships will gain the recognition they deserve and we will see even further uptakes and starts.