20.04.2013, 07:37

Higher Apprentices "most employable" young people

Author: National Apprenticeship Service

Qualified apprentices 15 per cent "more employable" than applicants with other qualifications.


Former apprentices are outpacing their peers when it comes to being fit for the workplace, according to new figures released today. 

The study by ICM Research reveals that employers in England rate qualified apprentices as 15 per cent more employable than those with other qualifications. Those who complete Higher Apprenticeships are the most desirable employees, with businesses rating this group as 25 per cent more employable than those who took an alternative route into work. 


Table of qualifications ranked in order of employability


Qualification level

Employability rating out of 10

Higher (degree level) Apprenticeship


University degree


Advanced (Level 3) Apprenticeship


Intermediate (Level 2) Apprenticeship


Level 3 vocational qualification


Level 2 vocational qualification






The figures coincide with the release by the National Apprenticeship Service of a new film and guide to Higher Apprenticeships, which is expected to be made available to A-Level school leavers and existing apprentices and employees in 2013.

The full list, published on, shows that Higher Apprenticeships will be available in a total of 41 subjects including Engineering Environmental Technologies and will offer young people a different route to degree-level qualifications than traditional university study.

One in six (15%) apprentices currently progresses to Higher Education following their Apprenticeship, either at a college or a university, but with Apprenticeships at Bachelor and Master degree levels also becoming available for the first time, the opportunities for degree level learning while young people earn have now been significantly expanded.

Matthew Hancock MP, Minister for Skills
Matthew Hancock MP, Minister for Skills
Commenting on the findings, Skills Minister Matthew Hancock said: "We want Apprenticeships or University to become the new norm for young people leaving school and Higher Apprenticeships are an excellent way to enter high-profile careers while also achieving a degree-level qualification."

“We are releasing the online guide and film today to inspire young people to think about their futures and to help employers see how Higher Apprenticeships could benefit their business.”

Higher Apprenticeships are already a popular choice for both young people and current employees looking to progress in their careers, with 3,700 learners starting Higher Apprenticeships in England during the 2011/2012 academic year – representing growth of 68 per cent on the previous year. This bodes well for young people’s future prospects, with recent reports estimating that completing a Level 4 Higher Apprenticeship could result in increased lifetime earnings of more than £150,000. 

David Way, Executive Director of the National Apprenticeship Service, describes Higher Apprenticeships as a "great example of how Apprenticeships are changing to reflect the world of work and the even higher level skills needed by employers.”

We know that Apprenticeships deliver real business benefits for employers. Higher Apprenticeships also enable businesses to recruit from a wider talent pool and invest in their workforce in a proven way that will develop and deliver its full potential. At the same time, they can provide young people with a nationally recognised work-based route into professions that have traditionally been the preserve of graduates,” he adds.

To explain what Higher Apprenticeships offer, a film of the recent PwC-sponsored Higher Apprenticeship recruitment fairs is also now available to view on

Gaenor Bagley, head of people at PwC believes that for talented students who are clear about their career path and want to get straight into work, Higher Apprenticeships offer  a "real opportunity that doesn’t compromise on training and development."

PwC launched the professional services industry’s first Higher Apprenticeship scheme last year. In 2013 it plans to recruit another 70 Higher Apprenticeships across the firm as part of a wider "school leaver" programme.

Higher Apprenticeships were introduced in 2009 to provide high level qualifications for apprentices and enable employers, colleges and universities to deliver the advanced skills most critical for growth. There are already a wide variety of Higher Apprenticeships to choose from – representing hundreds of job roles.

About the National Apprenticeship Service

The National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) focuses on increasing the number of apprentices in England. We work with employers to help them introduce apprentices into their businesses, help those looking to start their careers find an Apprenticeship opportunity and contribute towards the costs of the training and qualifications within an Apprenticeship. We engage with a wide range of partners to help design the frameworks for apprentices and we implement all Government policies aimed at setting the high standard of quality Apprenticeships.

To get onto a Higher Apprenticeship people will need to have entry qualifications, typically at level 3 (which includes A-levels, Advanced level Diplomas and NVQ level 3 certificates.)

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