Recently issued figures from the Department for Education show that while there has been a much-publicised national drop in the number of new apprentices in the last year – down 35% in November 2017 when compared to the previous year – digital apprenticeships have been bucking the trend.
In the full year August 2016 to July 2017, 2,840 people embarked on level 3 and 4 digital apprenticeships using the new employer-backed Trailblazer standards, and 490 on digital degree apprenticeships. In the first quarter of the current year, August to October 2017, there have already been 2,240 people starting level 3 and 4, and 590 starting degree apprenticeships.
This time last year only 11% of starts in the first quarter were using the new standards rather than the old apprenticeship frameworks, whereas 66% of all starts in the same period this year were using the new standards. Growth is strong across a range of specialisms, including data analytics, digital marketing, IT sales and software development, reflecting the diversity of opportunity in digital careers today.
As well as setting the standards that define the skills apprentices should acquire, employers have set standards for Tech Industry Gold accreditation of apprenticeship programmes. This accreditation identifies programmes which meet industry standards for both content and delivery. 28 universities are offeringTech Industry Gold accredited degree apprenticeships, with the first apprentices having graduated in 2017.
Says Karen Price, Chief Executive of the Tech Partnership, “It is great news that employers are embracing the new standards for digital apprenticeships, and employer confidence in Tech Industry Gold accreditation is really helping to increase opportunities offered to young people. Our latest data shows that already over 80 companies have taken on 1,250 people onto Tech Industry Gold degree apprenticeships. This is a fantastic new route into a digital career for young people, and is proving very popular with employers who see the benefits of developing new talent.”
The Department for Education’s figures for new starts on the digital ‘Trailblazer’ standards are as follows (note these numbers do not include new starts on the old apprenticeship frameworks):