Skip to main content

IT apprenticeships losing their appeal to UK teenagers

(Image credit: Image Credit: Štefan Štefančík / Unsplash)

Fewer teenagers are gravitating towards information and communication technology (ICT) apprenticeships and that number of applicants has fallen by almost 20 per cent over the last five years, new research has discovered.

According to the UK's Education and Skills Funding Agency, in 2016/17, around 15,000 people began ICT apprenticeships in Britain which was down from 16,020 during the previous year.  However since 2011/12, the number of applicants for ICT apprenticeships fell by 3,510. 

At the same time though, a recent report from the National Audio Office (NAO) (opens in new tab) has revealed that the number of young people starting STEM apprenticeships has increased from 95,000 in 2012/13 to 112,000 in 2016/17 although a majority of the applicants started an apprenticeship in either engineering or construction, planning and the built environment. 

The chair of the Public Accounts Committee, Meg Hillier criticised the government for not doing enough to understand the skills that businesses really need which led to the wrong initiatives being promoted. 

Though the government often tries to play up the importance of ICT in terms of addressing the tech skills gap (opens in new tab), young people are just not as interested in beginning an apprenticeship in it. 

The head of apprenticeships at the British Computer Society, John Pritchard stressed the value of an ICT apprenticeship in a digital world, saying: 

“We need to reverse the downward trend, and encourage all players; government, employers large and small, teachers, careers advisors, parents and, of course, young people themselves of the huge value that an apprenticeship can bring in kick-starting their careers. It's clear that our future economy will be one that's driven by digital skills and knowledge, which is why these digital apprenticeships are so important.” 

Image Credit: Štefan Štefančík / Unsplash

Anthony Spadafora
Anthony Spadafora

After getting his start at ITProPortal and then working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches to how to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.