More than a million learners have searched for degree and higher apprenticeships through Ucas in the past year, new data published today shows.
Data published by the application service shows there were 1.35 million searches for degree and higher apprenticeships in the past 12 months – up 37 per cent from 986,000 in 2020. The data also reveals that these searches resulted in 225,000 job applications, up by almost 25 per cent from 181,000 last year.
Currently, learners can apply for an apprenticeship through a variety of platforms and organisations.
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But in an interview with Tes last year, Ucas’ director of strategy, John Cope, said the organisation was interested in developing a shared admissions application service that oversees the entire apprenticeship system.
At the time, he said: “There is no one who's overseeing how you get an apprenticeship. And so much of it is individual employers advertising, and it means that, as a young person, you have to deal with myriad processes. You have to personally get an interest, and find an employer or a college.
“You end up with this kind of really fragmented system – so much of it comes down to luck. My strong view is that Ucas needs to do all of the behind-the-scenes work to address the unfairness that is already building. If we don’t, in five years' time we will be sitting around asking, 'What do we do about widening participation?'"
Ucas: Growing demand for apprenticeships
Speaking on the publication of the data today, Ucas chief executive Clare Marchant said the demand for apprenticeships was growing, and had risen significantly during the pandemic.
“Today’s numbers show that the clear demand for undergraduate study and apprenticeships is growing, rising significantly during the pandemic. Universities are ready to welcome more students on to courses this autumn and have worked hard to be flexible, enabling students to progress to their next level of study," she said.
“Publishing new insight throughout the cycle increases transparency in admissions, and students, parents, teachers and universities can have confidence that the process is once again as fair as possible, with results day on the horizon.
“Though not every student will find themselves in the position they had initially hoped for, they still have a wide range of options, including undergraduate courses and apprenticeships. Clearing and our apprenticeship service is now open and Ucas is supporting students throughout the summer online, including on TikTok, Facebook and Instagram.
“There is a full range of post-secondary options and pathways available, not just applying for an undergraduate degree. All the help and advice they need from Ucas online will give them an excellent start to their career.”
Ucas predicts an increase in applications and offer-making this summer, with the data showing that, as of 30 June 2021, a total of 682,010 applicants (up 4 per cent on 2020) made 2,955,990 applications (up 6 per cent), resulting in 1,998,690 offers (up 3 per cent) made by colleges and universities.
Applications to the most selective universities have increased and offer-making from these institutions is also up from last year’s high, including a 20 per cent rise since 2019 in offers to students from the most disadvantaged backgrounds.