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Melanie Dodd, Apprenticeship Support Skills Strategy Manager, looks at the rising figures for apprenticeships and what this means for the Liverpool City Region.

Every year the government looks at the state of play across the nation for apprenticeships. β€œThese figures give us a benchmark about the numbers of apprenticeships across the nation, the type of apprenticeship and the companies they are with. This is very valuable as it helps the Apprenticeship Support by Be More team to assess and advise you about apprenticeship trends and what apprenticeships could be coming to the market soon. The national trend reflects the trend across the Liverpool City Region, so this gives us a good insight into what apprenticeships may be coming up this year,” says Melanie.

The numbers of apprenticeships are rising particularly in small businesses where an increase has been seen for the first time in five years. Businesses with fewer than 50 employees saw the number of people starting apprenticeships shoot up by 12 per cent compared to 2019/20. β€œThis is an exciting trend as it shows that small businesses are beginning to turn to apprenticeships as a valuable method of recruiting and retaining fresh talent in their business. The report shows that 30 percent of all the people who began apprenticeships in 2020/2021 did so in companies with less than 50 employees,” explains Melanie.

The report also shows a slight decrease in the number of people starting apprenticeships in businesses that employ between 50 and 250 people. β€œThe government call businesses with up to 250 employees Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). They make up the backbone of the British Economy. The report measured the incentives provided to SMEs to take on apprentices and saw 99,140 apprenticeships created in SMEs in 2020/21. This shows there are plenty of apprenticeship opportunities and they are growing. In fact the report says that demand for apprenticeships is high and is beginning to outstrip the numbers of apprentices each SME is allowed to take in a year,” suggests Melanie.

So which sectors took on the most apprenticeships? A quarter of all people starting apprenticeships in 2020/21 were in health and social work. This is an increase of 18 percent on the previous year and reflected the need for people in this sector particularly during the pandemic. People starting apprenticeships in the information and communication sector increased by 16 percent on last year. Other sectors seeing an increase compared to 2020/21 were financial services, public administration, transportation and education. Decreases in the number of people starting apprenticeships in manufacturing, arts/entertainment and construction may be reflecting the recovery of businesses from the pandemic.

β€œThe picture for this year looks promising as more small businesses look for apprenticeships. The Apprenticeship Support by Be More team are here to help you find your dream apprenticeship and support you in applying for it successfully. Start looking for apprenticeships on the Be More website to get you career started,” says Melanie.

If you would like further information on apprenticeships and how to apply for them, talk to the Apprenticeship Support by Be More Team. The team is funded by the European Social Fund & LCR Strategic Investment Fund and provides impartial information and advice on apprenticeships across the Liverpool City Region.