3,000 Tower Hamlets school-leavers chase 185 apprentice places

Thousands of school-leavers in London’s deprived East End have applied for apprenticeships this year—but chasing only 185 vacancies.

The shock figures revealed this week show 3,290 youngsters in Tower Hamlets applying for places during the three moths from February to April—around 1,000 more than the same quarter last year.

Only 72 more places were on offer than last year’s 113, according to the National Apprenticeship Service statistics.

Yet vacancies across the country reached a record 17,700. These included 4,200 in London alone—with 73,380 hopefuls applying for them.

Skills Minister Matthew Hancock said: “We want more employers to take advantage of the Apprenticeship Service support available and consider how hiring an apprentice could benefit their business.”

The national data also reveals the most popular apprenticeships applied for—business and administration had 101,500 applications, child care 29,000, customer service 26,200, IT & telecoms nearly 21,000 and vehicle mechanics almost 20,000—but chasing too few vacancies.

Topping the vacancies were business & admin 7,700, customer service 2,700, child care just under 2,000, manufacture craft nearly 1,800 and hospitality & catering 1,700.

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Arts, publishing and IT were the most competitive applications—17 for every vacancy. Also popular were plumbing & heating, bus engineering, animal care, pharmacy and construction.

Fastest growing apprenticeships advertised online were vehicle sales, electricity industry, health care, engineering and leisure management.

A film on how to apply for apprenticeships has already had 52,000 views on YouTube and apprentice.tv, while a new app for iPhone and Android has been downloaded by 5,000 hopefuls. Applications can be made by freephone 0800-015 0600 or online at apprenticeships.org.uk.