UK apprenticeships see a 50% decline due to coronavirus 

Small Business Prices has created a study looking at the best industries for apprentices. The data analyses the number of apprenticeship starts and completions for different courses, the best and worst salaries offered in each industry, as well as the top-rated companies for apprenticeships. It also examines the impact Covid-19 has had on apprenticeships and reveals which industries have been affected the most by the pandemic.

Small Business Prices’ research also identified the best employers for apprenticeships in the UK. RateMyApprenticeship analysed feedback from over 4,000 apprentices in 2018 to determine the best companies for apprenticeships.

These include:

  1. MOTUS Commercials – Business
  2. BAE Systems – Engineering/ Manufacturing
  3. Mitchells & Butlers – Hospitality, Leisure and Tourism
  4. M&G – Insurance, Asset and Investment Management
  5. BT – IT & Consultancy

As Universities become increasingly expensive to attend, and the job market particularly competitive in the current climate, prospective students may consider other career paths, such as an apprenticeship.

However, with so many options, it can be difficult to choose which industry is the most suitable. The table below shows the top 5 industries for apprentices:

The five best industries for apprenticeships:

Rank Industry Apprenticeship Starts (2018/19) Apprenticeship Completions (2018/19) Salary
1 Health & Social Care 58,286 29,658 £14,795.39
2 Engineering 20,960 8,575 £21,426.63
3 Administration 45,202 26,762 £15,252.93
4 Accounting & Finance 22,002 5,948 £14,496.94
5 Business Management 48,990 12,427 £18,267.58

Health and Social care rank top of the list and has the highest number of completions across all industries. On the other end of the scale, Animal Care and Veterinary Science, Media and Communications, and Marketing don’t rank well, due to low salaries, as well as having notably fewer apprenticeship starts and completions.

Small Business Prices has evaluated the average salaries prospective apprentices can expect in each industry, revealing both the best and the worst paying.

The top and bottom industries for apprenticeship salaries:

Rank Best salaries Worst salaries
1 Direct Learning Support – £27,669 Animal & Veterinary Science – £8,476
2 Teaching & Lecturing – £24,143 Media & Communications – £10,438
3 Hospitality & Catering – £22,072 Horticulture & Forestry – £11,500
4 Engineering – £21,427 Publishing – £11,789
5 Transport & Maintenance – £21,329 Marketing & Sales – £13,257

When solely considering salary, apprenticeships in Direct Learning Support (which provides support to teachers) and teaching perform particularly well, with an average salary between £24,000-£27,000. Although animal and veterinary science offers the worst salary, it is important to consider the expected earning potential, as a fully qualified vet can earn between £40,000-£70,000.

The effect of Covid-19 on apprenticeships 

The world is continuing to feel the effects of the coronavirus as we try to navigate through these uncertain times. With the most recent restrictions, job security is a concern once again, especially for apprentices who particularly felt the effects of the first wave of Covid-19. This raises the question, which industries have suffered the most? 

Rank Industry Apprenticeship starts (March-May 2019) Apprenticeship starts (March-May 2020) Covid-19 difference
1 Health and
Social Care
14,926 7,439 7,487
2 Administration 9,834 3,879 5,955
3 Business
11,049 6,757 4,292
4 Child
5,943 2,561 3,382
5 Hospitality and
4,836 1,606 3,230
6 Manufacturing 3,744 1,278 2,466
7 Retailing and
2,932 1,099 1,833
8 Service
2,197 707 1,490
9 Accounting and
3,642 2,155 1,487
10 Engineering 2,028 845 1,183
  Total 79,588 39,827 39,761

Overall, the number of apprenticeship starts between March and May in 2020 dropped by 50% (39,761) compared to the same period last year. Health and Social Care was the worst-hit industry, with 7,487 fewer starts in 2020 than 2019 (down 50%). But other industries have also seen a decline in apprenticeships: Administration (61%), Business Management (39%), and Child Development (57%) have all felt the effects of the pandemic. 

Ian Wright, Founder of Small Business Prices comments:

Not only are Universities becoming increasingly expensive, but due to Covid-19 the ‘traditional’ University experience has shifted. As a result, students may want to explore different career paths and this research aims to provide insight into the options available, to help students make informed decisions.

“But it’s also important to consider the drastic impact of the pandemic, as apprenticeship starts have decreased by 50% compared to last year. PM Boris Johnson has already stressed the importance of apprenticeships, with his pledge to offer an ‘opportunity guarantee’, promising young people opportunities for work. It’s important younger generations are not negatively impacted from this situation and companies are given appropriate support to ensure apprenticeship starts increase again.”

This study from Small Business Prices has analysed the best industries for apprenticeships, the highest-rated employers for apprenticeships, as well as how these have been affected by Covid-19

Methodology: The apprenticeships have been ranked according to a series of metrics and ranked from the highest to the lowest overall index score.

Figures on UK apprenticeship starts and completions were collected from the UK Department for Education data between 1.9.-4.9.2020. The Covid-19 impact was calculated as May 2020 - May 2019.

Salary data was collected from Indeed between 1.9.-4.9.2020 and an average created.

The best companies were taken from a seedlist from RateMyApprenticeship, based on research they carried out of over 4,000 apprentices.

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

Solvendis added a new event yesterday

Designated Safeguarding Lead Training (Zoom Conferencing)

A provider’s Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) plays a critical role in its approach to safeguarding its learners, training its staff, providing...

  • Wednesday, 15 September 2021 10:00 AM
  • Zoom Conferencing
Solvendis added a new event yesterday

Level 3 Award in Education & Training (Zoom Conferencing)

  • Thursday, 23 September 2021 10:00 AM
  • Zoom Conferencing
Solvendis added a new event yesterday

Ofsted Inspection Nominee Training (Zoom Conferencing)

Within inspection, Ofsted invites providers to nominate a senior member of staff to act as the main link with the inspection team. Ofsted suggests...

  • Friday, 23 July 2021 10:00 AM
  • Zoom Conferencing

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page