Retail apprenticeship vacancies increase by a fifth year-on-year, new figures show

Apprenticeships in retail and commercial enterprise are growing in popularity among both employers and young people, according to figures released today by the National Apprenticeship Service. 

The quarterly Apprenticeship Index reveals a 20% increase in apprenticeship vacancies in the sector posted online on the Apprenticeship vacancies website between August and October 2013 (Academic Year Q1 2013/14) compared to the same period the previous year – 7630 vacancies were advertised over the three months versus 6380 in 2012. 

But with online applications in the sector leaping by 80% (to 74,520) and every vacancy now attracting an average of 10 applications, the Government is urging employers to create more apprenticeship positions in order to meet the demand.

Yorkshire and the Humber saw the greatest increase in vacancies in the sector (46% increase) while the North East recorded the biggest jump in applications (more than doubling with 131% increase).

The Index also reveals that apprenticeships are attracting increasing numbers of applications from female candidates.  Online applications from women across all industries have increased by more than half since 2012, with 216,100 applications made by females in the three month period, a 55% increase.  This has also served to narrow the male gender bias, with 47% of all applications for apprenticeships made by females last year compared to 43% the previous year. 

Matthew Hancock MP, Skills and Enterprise Minister, said: “These figures show that apprenticeships are growing in appeal to young people, and yet more young women are seeking out this unique opportunity to earn while they learn and gain a recognised qualification while notching up vital work experience. 

“With new independent research revealing that one in five employers currently have former apprentices working in senior, board level, positions, it’s also very encouraging to see vacancies increasing and new employers coming on board. But with each online position attracting an average of 12 applications, demand continues to outstrip supply and I would urge more employers to consider how they can take advantage of this available pool of talent and grow their business through apprenticeships.”

Other key highlights from the past year include:

  • Across all sectors, apprenticeship vacancies grew by 24% (to 37,410) in the three month period, while applications increased 43% to 461,530.
  • -Vacancies for higher apprenticeships grew most significantly with an increase of 41% year on year, followed by advanced apprenticeships (32% growth) and intermediate apprenticeships (19% growth).
  • 16 August – the day after A Level results were announced – saw the highest number of live vacancies, with 17,610 positions available across all sectors. The greatest number of applications (8890) was submitted on 4 September.
  • The greatest numbers of both applications and vacancies were in the business, administration and law sector with 165,410 applications made during the period for some 15,550 apprenticeships. 
  • The sector with the highest ratio of applications to vacancies was education and training, which attracted an average of 27 applications per vacancy, followed by arts, media and publishing (26) and information and communication technology (20). The lowest ratio, 10 applications per vacancy, was to be found in retail and commercial enterprise and science and mathematics. 

To apply for, or advertise a vacancy, please visit or call 08000 150 600. You can also download AV Search via the Android or iTunes app stores to find Apprenticeship vacancies in your area. For impartial careers advice, search online for National Careers Service or call 0800 100 900.