Demand for apprenticeships in the ICT sector is dramatically outstripping supply, with every vacancy now attracting an average of 20 applicants, new figures suggest.
Although apprenticeships are in vogue among ICT firms - with vacancies rising 13 per cent year on year to 1,920 in the three months to October 2013 - the number of applications during the same period rose much more steeply, by 42 per cent to 37,690.
This means that an average of 20 applicants are now battling it out for each vacancy. At the last time of counting, the ratio was 17. Only the education/training and arts, media and publishing sectors had a higher ratio of applications to vacancies.
But demand is outstripping supply for apprenticeships across the board. In all sectors, apprenticeship vacancies rose by 24 per cent in the three-month period, while applications boomed 43 per cent to 461,530. Vacancies for Higher Apprenticeships rose most significantly, hiking 41 per cent year on year, with Advanced Apprenticeships and Intermediate Apprenticeships rising by 32 per cent and 19 per cent respectively.
The figures are based on employers who advertise their vacancies to the public using the Apprenticeship Vacancies website, so do not offer a complete picture. They also take into account only online applications.
However, skills and enterprise minister Matthew Hancock MP called on UK businesses to get on board.
"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," he said.
The male gender bias in apprenticeships is also falling, with 47 per cent of all applications made by females during the period, up from 43 per cent the previous year.
"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," said Hancock.
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