From education to employment

South West & North West best places to find an apprenticeship – new figures show

Young people in the South West and the North West of England have a considerably greater chance of securing an apprenticeship than their contemporaries in London or the West Midlands, according to new figures published ahead of National Apprenticeship Week, which begins on Monday March 5th.

The figures, published today in the Apprentice Index, compares the ratio of 16-24 year old NEETs (those Not In Education, Employment or Training) to the number of workplaces employing apprentices in the last quarter by region, according to statistics provided by the Department for Education and the Skills Funding Agency respectively.

The North West had been the best performing region for the past three quarters. It was overtaken this time by the South West primarily due to a 23% reduction in the number of NEET 16-24 year olds in the region over the last quarter, compared to only a 13% reduction in the North West. 

The North West had the highest number of workplaces employing apprentices at 43,080, just under 6,000 more than the next highest region, the South East. Moreover, the North West had nearly 30,000 more workplaces employing apprentices than the lowest region, the North East, with just 15,760 workplaces employing apprentices.

This is the ninth consecutive quarter that London has ranked as the worst region in England on the Apprentice Index. In the last three years, London has either been last or last but one in every quarter, primarily due to the low number of workplaces employing apprentices in the capital, compared to other regions.

The figures show that London remains the worst region in England for young people seeking an apprenticeship, with a score of 4.06 on the Apprentice Index. This means there are 4.06 16-24 year olds in London for every workplace employing apprentices. This is more than double the competition faced by a 16-24 year old living in the North West or South West of England. In the South West, a young person faces competition from 1.84 other 16-24 year olds for an apprenticeship, whilst the figure for the North West is 2.00. The West Midlands was the second worst region with 83,000 16-24 year old NEETs vying for apprenticeships offered by 29,460 workplaces, giving it a score of 2.82.

In the last Quarter, London had only 24,140 workplaces employing apprentices but 98,000 16-24 year old NEETs looking for apprenticeships. The neighbouring South East Region had 54% more workplaces employing apprentices. On these figures, London would need to increase its number of workplaces employing apprentices from 24,140 to 39,516, an increase of 64%, just to rank as “average” on the Apprentice Index.

“One interesting finding from the Apprentice Index is that students who are on the border of two different regions should consider widening their search for an Apprenticeship in order to improve their chances,” explains Paul Harris, Director,

“For example, a student in the North East has an Opportunity Rate of 2.66. However, the Opportunity Rate in neighbouring Yorkshire & Humberside is 2.18 and 2.00 in the North West. As a result, NEET 16-24 year olds in the North East can improve their Opportunity Rate by 22% or 33% by looking for an Apprenticeship in the neighbouring regions of Yorkshire & Humberside or the North West.

“Similarly, a student living in London can improve their Opportunity Rate by looking just outside London. The Opportunity Rate in London is 4.06, while in the East of England, which includes Essex, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire, is 2.82 and in the South East, which includes the M4 corridor and the Home Counties, it is 2.34.”, which currently specialises in the automotive industry, one of the UK’s leading providers of apprenticeships, is the country’s only portal where details of apprenticeships are available all year round, not just for the 30 days leading up to an application deadline. The portal features a broad range of roles from engineering and finance, to IT, HR, Sales & Marketing, and even Occupational Health.

The 11th National Apprenticeship Week runs from March 5th-9th. During the week employers and apprentices from across England will come together to celebrate the success of apprenticeships whilst encouraging even more people to choose apprenticeships as a pathway to a great career.

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