Increase in university applications outstripped by demand for degree and higher-level apprenticeships over past year

While university applications have increased by four per cent this year, the figure has been outstripped by the demand for degree and higher-level apprenticeships which have risen by a quarter.

Ben Milligan

Data published by the UCAS has shown that in the last 12 months there were 1.35 million searches for degree and higher apprenticeships, which resulted in 225,000 job applications, up from 181,000 last year.

Neil Bates, managing director at apprenticeship training provider, Seetec Outsource, said: “In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic more young people with good A-levels and Btecs are looking at alternatives to university and are searching for apprenticeships, which offer a growing range of opportunities to gain industry-recognised qualifications.”

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Ben Milligan, from Mirfield, West Yorkshire, has already embarked on an apprenticeship and is one of a growing number of students looking towards more vocational courses which allow them to earn while they learn.

The 20-year-old, who secured an ocean freight exports apprenticeship with DHL Global Forwarding (UK) Ltd, said: “I didn’t want to sit in lectures, I wanted to take the next step and use the experience of an apprenticeship to gain skills.

“Personally, I believe I’ve made the right choice. I am happy for my friends getting their degrees, but they now have to find jobs and start their careers.

“I would say to school leavers, don’t just focus your research on universities, but look at apprenticeships. Employers benefit from having an apprentice too, so it’s worth contacting companies to find out about opportunities.”