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Trade Apprenticeships on the Rise. How Does Each Trade Compare?

Posted by Christos Panayiotou on 23rd September 2016

The number of people registering to become an electrical apprentice is increasing each year due to the government actively investing and promoting apprenticeships across the UK. When we look at the data below we can see a significant increase over the last year and data for 2016 which is yeat to be finalised suggest this will incre\ase further. 

Apprenticeship starts
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So what happened in 2008?

Electrical apprenticeships increased to a peak of 6520 starts in 2008. The increase was driven by a booming construction sector. In order to complete an apprenticeship it is essential to have a job or apprenticeship placement. As such apprenticeships can be a good indicator of the strength of an industry and it’s employment prospects.

So when the crash happened in 2007 we saw overall starts for electrical apprenticeships decline in the following years. They have been a little up and down since then but have finally hit their stride over the last couple of years getting close to pre-2007 levels. Data for the period August 2015 - April 2016 is still to be completed but total starts for that period is almost equal to the year before already with 5480 apprentices starting. 

Whats going to happen in coming years?

Well there is a major shift coming in the next few years. Apprenticeships as a whole are set to become more common across all industries. The reason for this is that the government is going to be enforcing an apprenticeship levy on all employers who have a wage bill of £2M or more. This means that those employers will have to spend 0.5% of their wage bill on apprentices. If they don’t that money will get paid into a pot and then be used to facilitate more apprenticeships. Essentially it will be a use or lose it approach so most employers are likely to use it.

We expect that overall apprenticeships will rise but also there will be an increase in demand for mature apprentices who can enter the industry. This also will mean an increase in demand for students who have self-funded their training and maybe need an employer to sponsor an NVQ.

How are other trades performing?

It’s no surprise that apart from general construction skills plumbing comes second in terms of the number of apprenticeship starts over the last few years. We can also see a similar pattern in terms of a peak in 2007 and then a lull before things start to improve in the last few years.

Why it makes sense to hire an apprentice?

The current government and private education sectors have recently been encouraging employers to consider taking on apprentices because they’re generally easier to train and mould and are also cost-effective for the business. Another added benefit which GOV.UK recently reported is that 89% of employers who hired an apprentice saw their business improve the quality of their product or service.

There’s also many long term benefits for employers and apprentices, as GOV.UK also published statistics stating that 90% of apprentices will stay in employment with 71% staying with the same employer.

What’s clear is that apprenticeships and trade based careers are seeing a resurgence of interest over the last few years. With the rise in university tuition fees and the ability to get earning much quicker in many trades it is no surprise to see a large number of younger and older students choosing to ditch the books and pick up the tools.



Categories: apprenticeships