Record set with 370,000 applications made between February and April.

The number of people applying for apprentice schemes in the UK has set a new record, with almost 370,000 applications made online in the last three months.

According to new figures released today by the National Apprenticeship Service the number of applications made between February and April 2013 grew by more than 32%, when compared to the same period last year.


The number of apprenticeship vacancies has also grown, with more than 32,600 vacancies advertised online in the same three month period, representing an increase of almost 15% on the previous year.

On the 26 April 17,700 live vacancies were available online, the highest number recorded.

Jason Holt has been involved with the promotion of apprenticeships in the UK and specifically the UK jewellery industry. He said of the news: “It is vital that we do more to demonstrate how all employers can grow their own workforce through apprenticeships. For smaller businesses, this is even more crucial as apprentices help improve productivity while reducing costs.”

Two new guides to hiring apprentices have also been developed in response to Holt’s Review of Apprenticeships designed to encourage employers, in particular small and medium sized businesses, to take on an apprentice. These documents,  are available to download via

Skill Minister Matthew Hancock MP said: "With more vacancies than ever before, apprenticeships are fast becoming the norm for young people who want to achieve their career goals through an alternative route to University. We want more employers to take advantage of the advice and support available from the National Apprenticeship Service and consider how hiring an apprentice could benefit their business."

Arts, media and publishing and information communication technology were the most competitive sectors to apply for, with more than 17 applications per vacancy, while the most competitive individual subjects to apply for were plumbing and heating, bus and coach engineering, animal care, health pharmacy services and construction specialist.

London recorded the biggest growth in the number of online vacancies advertised, with 4,210 vacancies posted by employers, a year on year increase of more than 29%.

The South Central and Central Eastern regions posted around 25% more vacancies in 2013 than at the same time last year.

The North East and the East Midlands were also highly competitive areas to apply for an apprenticeship. Herefordshire, Camden, Kingston upon Hull and Salford all recorded more than 150% increases in the number of vacancies available online.

Rutland, Blackburn with Darwen, Herefordshire, Brent and Middlesborough reported the largest rises in the number of applications submitted.

Jason Holts’ free Making Apprenticeships Work in SMEs guide is available to download via Professional Jeweller. Click here for more info.