Apprenticeships suffer as university numbers soar

Posted on 14 Aug 2015 by Fred Tongue

A record number of university entrants sees the number of young people in apprenticeships lag behind.

This year more than 400,000 young people have been given university places on results day, and it is expected a further 100,000 will be given university places through clearing before term starts later in the year.

Ann Watson, chief executive, Semta.
Ann Watson, chief executive, Semta.

Semta has carried out research that suggests the skills gap is widening and that apprenticeship applicants are getting older.

The number of 16 year olds in apprenticeships is 25,500 compared to 161,600 over 25s, the largest number of any age group, according to its research.

Head of Semta, Ann Watson commented: “This might be bad news for business, the door to university is being opened even wider – which may mean school leavers will get swept in without considering fully their options.”

The Government has lifted the cap on university places, explaining the recent surge of more than half a million applicants this year. Semta has also found out that 10% of teachers and parents did not have enough knowledge of non-university career paths.

Watson added: “Meanwhile industry is crying out for apprentices to fill positions that will provide opportunities to earn and learn, solid qualifications and a rewarding career for life.

“The Government has set itself a tough target of creating 3m new apprenticeships in this Parliament – which will take some doing.”

Semta represents 145,800 companies with a combined workforce of more than 150,000 and annual revenues of over £321bn.

Watson concluded: “The engineering sector needs a further 800,000 skilled engineers by the end of the decade to fulfil its growth potential – so there is no time to lose.”

Would you like to discover ways in which your businesses can gain higher productivity by focusing on their workforce needs?

The Manufacturer’s National Skills Conference – in partnership with The Manufacturing Technology Centre – will provide a forum to discuss the skills issue currently affecting all aspects of British manufacturing.

This inaugural event offers the opportunity to make changes throughout industry and wider partners, exploring best practice methods and innovative thinking to promote building capacity to drive business performance.

15 – 16 October, 2015 : Antsy Park, Coventry