Covid-19: the impact on apprenticeships

The unprecedented pandemic that the world has found itself in the grip of this year has visibly affected all sectors of life. 

Not only is the workplace being fundamentally changed, but recruitment numbers are lower than ever before, hiring has stalled and for many young job hunters entering the workforce, important apprenticeship programmes have become impossible to run.

In this article, we take a look at the impact COVID-19 is having on apprenticeships across the UK. 

The COVID-19 impact

The number of new jobs and employee hirings has massively fallen directly due to COVID-19. Not only have many businesses shut up shop entirely and closed for good, but many more have been simply unable to continue working or trading, and employers have had to make the decision to furlough workers. 

Apprenticeships have felt this knock-on effect, but the impact has gone largely unreported. New training programmes and school leavers schemes set to start later in the year are still on uncertain ground. Funds are being diverted elsewhere, and it’s still unclear if workplaces will even be back to normal after the summer when fresh graduates and school leavers ordinarily join the job market. 

Is this a lost generation of apprentices?


Apprenticeships provide a unique opportunity for people to both work and learn, and for many, it’s an important stepping stone to the career they’ve always wanted. 

Workplace learning is in many cases completely on hold. It’s impossible with social distancing measures in place and businesses on furlough. Those who are currently in an apprenticeship are finding their working hours cut and their educational schemes held back, for the time being, producing a gap in knowledge and learning.

The impact on future generations will perhaps be even starker. 23 per cent of employers are slashing their apprenticeship programmes due to coronavirus. This will produce a huge lost opportunity, and indeed a lost generation of apprentices in the coming years. 

It’s not all doom and gloom

But while these are nervous times for young apprentices on the search for vacancies, there are still some sectors actively recruiting trainees to their workforce. 

People across the country are having to adapt to huge changes in their lives, and for soon to be apprentices, school leavers and recent graduates, this could mean revaluating the industry or sector they are looking to work in.

Job hunters will – for the time being at least – have to look to essential industries for employment. Supermarkets are still hiring for their management training programmes, as are food distribution and logistics companies. Opportunities are still waiting for flexible apprentices. 

If you need more information on finding apprenticeships during this unprecedented crisis, then please contact James Newbury Appointments today. We hope you all stay safe and well.

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