Study suggests apprentice growth is dominated by older workers

According to a new study, almost half of the apprenticeships in Greater Manchester have been taken by adults in their thirties, forties and fifties.

The report by New Economy shows that adult apprentices over the age of 25 have grown from 2,472 in 2008/9 to 13,485 in 2012/13 which is rise of 446%.

Almost two-thirds of those undertaking Greater Manchester-wide apprenticeships are women working in areas such as health and social care, customer service and business administration. Also there has been a 26% drop recorded in 16-18 year olds beginning apprenticeships in the three years to 2013.

James Farr, Director of skills and Employment at New Economy, said: “A good quality apprenticeship is a critical route into well-paying work and will be a better choice than going to university for some ambitious young people. But the challenge for the city region in the next few years will be to expand the numbers of good quality apprenticeships, particularly at advanced and higher levels. Apprenticeships are still often thought of as being about traditional manual roles. Our report shows how out of date this perception is.”

“Areas such as engineering and construction are still very important, but most apprenticeships have taken on the characteristics of the service-oriented sectors that provide most jobs in Greater Manchester. What is more, the overwhelming majority of apprentices are women. We are keen to see more businesses recruiting new young employees via apprenticeships. Although we do not believe wage levels put many people off from applying, we want to make it easier by reducing living costs for apprentices.” He added.