Digital businesses in the north taking on more apprentices than ever

News by Danielle Correa

In an effort to reduce the widening skills gap, digital businesses in the north of the UK are taking on more apprentices than ever.

In an effort to reduce the widening skills gap, digital businesses in the north of the UK are taking on more apprentices than ever.


Manchester Digital's annual digital skills audit focused on 250 digital and technology businesses, in which over half had taken on an apprentice in the past year. The majority (80 percent) of apprentices met employer expectations.


Four in five digital employers said they believed the impending apprenticeship levy, set for introduction in April 2017, would be a good thing for their business. The levy will require all employers operating in the UK, with a pay bill over £3 million each year, to invest in apprenticeships.


Gender diversity in technical roles has declined. Businesses reported an 88:12 male to female ratio. Half of all respondents said that their tech teams were 100 percent male.


Businesses in the north are increasingly recruiting graduates from local universities. More than half (55 percent) declared they had done so in the past year, up 11 percent from the 12 months prior. One in four digital businesses said they actively run their own graduate scheme.


Skills found to be the most in demand from the region's digital businesses include software development (20 percent), digital marketing (15 percent) and data/insight analysis (13 percent). Javascript (41.4 percent), PHP (41.4 percent) and Python (27.6 percent) topped the charts for most used languages.


“It is great to see so many businesses in the region investing in their talent pipeline and taking on more apprentices than before. In time for National Apprenticeship Week, our audit has shown apprenticeships provide value for the vast majority of employers and we are seeing more parents and potential candidates view tech apprenticeships as a high quality alternative to university. The audit has also revealed the key skills employers in the industry are looking for which provides invaluable insight for any young person weighing up their options and considering a career in digital or tech,” said Katie Gallagher, managing director at Manchester Digital.


“It is imperative that employers look further down the talent supply chain and structure their recruitment strategies to allow for apprenticeships.”

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