Apprenticeships have proven popular in 2012 as learners were put off higher education by the new tuition fee arrangements.
There were 1.13m applications through the NAS online database last year, for around 106,000 vacancies (around 80 per cent of the total). Meanwhile, UCAS announced in their End of Cycle report 2012 that overall demand for higher education has fallen, with applications dropping by 6.6 per cent to 653,600.
EAL managing director Ann Watson said: “Demand for higher education weakened last year, when higher tuition fees were rolled out, while Apprenticeships went from strength to strength. While work still needs to be done, the public perception of Apprenticeships is slowly shifting, aligning the vocational pathway with higher education as a valuable pathway into a fulfilling, highly skilled career. Manufacturing Apprenticeships, in particular, proved extremely popular, with over 40,000 applications for 3,500 places advertised on the NAS database.
“The NAS figures reveal a huge gap in supply and demand – with applications far outweighing vacancies. More needs to be done to promote Apprenticeships to employers, support them to take on apprentices, and make them aware of the support that is already available, such as grants for SMEs that have never taken on an apprentice or have not recruited one in the previous 12 months.”