The Top 5 Most Popular Types of Apprenticeship



It’s 2019, and the traditional apprenticeship stereotype – a 17-year-old learning a trade – is well and truly out of date.

The introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy has hugely expanded the number of apprenticeship programmes (and apprenticeship training providers) available, and from August 2017 to July 2018, 369,700 new apprentices started on their training journey.

Apprenticeships are now a world-class form of training for almost every profession and level of seniority, from Able Seafarer to HR Consultant and even to CEO.

Things have changed even more within the last century - according to a 1911 census, the top apprenticeships back in the day were the likes of drapery, dressmaking and millinery.

Drapes aside - if you’ve ever wondered which apprenticeships are the most popular in the modern day, then wonder no longer!




#1 Business Administration

With 28,730 new Business Administration apprentices starting in the last term, this one tops the table. While business degrees have been offered at universities for many years, the surge in this apprenticeship shows a need for a new route for learners.

These apprentices are valuable assets within a business and the training will equip them to work in a wide variety of roles and industries. With some of the UK’s biggest employers offering hundreds of these positions across the country, it’s no surprise that there are so many new starts in this sector.

This modern apprenticeship covers skills including leadership, project management and finance.


#2 Children's Care, Learning and Development

This type of apprenticeship had a total of 25,110 individuals beginning their training over the last year. These will comprise of existing employees, like nursery staff, as well as brand-new learners looking to get into the childcare sector.

This apprenticeship provides a route into careers such as nursery nurse, nursery assistant and playgroup assistant. Depending on the individual, this can be delivered through a position working with those aged 1 to 16.

During the course of this apprenticeship, there are some additional hoops for candidates and employers to jump through: as apprentices will be working with children, additional safeguarding and checks may be required prior to starting the course.




#3 Construction Skills

One of the more traditional apprenticeships on the list, Construction Skills attracted 18,360 apprentices over the past year. This continues to be a popular route to work, with apprentices learning about the trade as well as elements of project management.

The demand for construction apprentices can be high, which prompts employers to offer better prospects. Large employers are able to offer long term progression and job security.

This apprenticeship can be undertaken at a variety of levels, from foundation to graduate. This gives employers the opportunity to develop new talent at every level.


#4 Health and Social Care

With employers like the NHS and care homes offering placements within this sector, 17,290 new apprentices have started over the last year.

There is a skills gap within the sector, with too few skilled workers to fill the many vacancies that are open. These health and social care apprenticeship programmes should help to ease this issue as apprentices become qualified.

There are many further routes for development after completing a health and social care apprenticeship: apprentices can continue to degree apprenticeships, university, or look for progression in the workplace.




#5 Team Leader/Supervisor

Aspiring leaders and managers gave us 17,260 new Team Leader/Supervisor apprentices this year. This should be no surprise, as the average management apprentice delivers a positive net gain of £13,824 per year to their business.

The apprenticeship route to management is hugely attractive to new starts, who can avoid expensive university fees while gaining the practical leadership experience that forms the foundation of any successful manager.

The apprenticeship is also prized by employers looking to develop their current staff and prime them for a managerial role. In a world where 45% of managers have never received any formal training, investing in leadership capability is a surefire way to gain a competitive edge over the competition.


How Do We Research the Most Popular Apprenticeships?

To determine the most popular apprenticeships, we used data from the UK Government. The popularity of each course is determined by how many new starts there were over the course of the 2017/2018 term.


What About the Least Popular Apprenticeships?

At the bottom of the table, we find the niche occupations with ten or fewer apprenticeship starts in the previous year.

  1. The Nuclear Health Physics Monitor apprenticeship attracted just ten new apprentices. This framework teaches apprentices how to carry out radiological protection for those that work within the nuclear industry. As you might expect, there aren’t too many of these positions available!
  2. The Boatbuilder course was also less populated than most others. While this would have been a popular training route in Britain’s manufacturing-led past, there’s simply less call for it in the modern day.
  3. Arborist apprentices are also in decline - this is also known as tree surgery if you’re not familiar with the term!


Some of these are in decline due to lack of demand from employers, whereas others come as a result of few apprentices interested in the course. Where the industry as a whole is in decline, many can’t sustain an apprentice or offer them a job at the completion of the course.




Another aspect holding many employers back from hiring apprentice is a perceived lack of flexibility in training – many state that they can’t afford to lose an employee once day a week to fulfil the 20% off-the-job training requirement.

However, this is based on an old-fashioned view of apprenticeship training that revolves around classroom learning. Many modern apprentices in office professions get their 20% training online, shaping it around their everyday tasks throughout the week.

This allows businesses to incorporate apprenticeship training into even the most hectic schedule.


To learn more about online apprenticeship training programmes in HR, finance, management and more, get in touch.


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