It’s a well known fact that the Pandemic has had a considerable impact on many aspects of our daily lives, from the rise in remote working to online lectures. Many are reconsidering career paths and their future plans. One area that has also been affected is the apprenticeship sector. If you have been considering applying for an apprenticeship, it is important to know how this sector has been affected, and how this may have an impact moving forward.
What can I expect from an apprenticeship?
An apprenticeship is a chance for many to combine their desire to learn with an opportunity to earn. Open to anyone aged 16 or over, apprentices are able to gain hands-on experience in a sector while gaining qualifications and getting paid. This is a perfect option for those who prefer to learn by doing, as they are able to apply their knowledge directly. There is a wide range of apprenticeship opportunities available, and they are not limited to a specific sector. Ranging from floristry to social care to construction, there are more than 1,500 apprenticeship roles available so there is something for everyone. It is advised that you should research the sector you wish to go into, as there may be a range of apprenticeships on offer that may appeal to you more rather than a degree in a related subject area.
In general, an apprenticeship can take between 1 - 4 years to complete and is dependent on the level of apprenticeship, the apprentice’s ability and the industry they are working in. A full time apprenticeship will require working 30 hours a week and 1 day of studying in either a university, college or online.
What impact has the pandemic had?
Lots of businesses, schools and industries have moved online with relative ease. Unfortunately, not all skills can be taught online and rely heavily on face-to-face experience, such as healthcare and construction. As a result, certain apprenticeships have had to be cancelled or postponed. Some apprentices have also been made redundant due to the changing government restrictions throughout the pandemic. Research has found that 6 out of 10 employers stopped all new apprenticeships due to the pandemic. Furthermore, there is a short-term nervousness that many businesses are experiencing when offering opportunities, as many are wishing to wait until the marketplace is more stable. This could mean that there are fewer apprenticeship opportunities available, and the demand for those available will be greater.
A lot of small businesses see the value of apprentices, however many are simply unable to afford to take on apprentices while they recover economically from the pandemic.
Unsurprisingly, the two apprenticeship sectors that were particularly badly impacted were “leisure, travel and tourism” and “retail and commercial enterprise”.
This is not to say it is all doom and gloom! As the world is slowly starting to reopen, there is a sense of optimism that apprenticeship placements will increase. Many businesses feel that apprenticeships are critical to the economic recovery and have tried to adjust to life in a pandemic. As a result, the majority of employers have moved their application process online and have started onboarding their new apprentices remotely. With government restrictions planned to ease on June 21st, many employers will not have to face the same obstacles that were present during the pandemic, and many are hopeful that apprenticeship opportunities will recover.
In an attempt to combat the negative impact of the pandemic on apprenticeships, the Government launched a Kickstart scheme which offers 6-month paid work placements to 16 - 24 year olds who are out of employment.
Going forward as more businesses are recovering from the negative impact of the pandemic, the apprenticeship market will also see a healthy recovery. As the UK starts to navigate out of lockdown, we will have to re-adjust to a number of various factors. A main advantage to this will be the recovery of the apprenticeship market, allowing you to pursue the apprenticeship you may have had to postpone.