Digital businesses turning to apprenticeships to stem skills shortage

Digital businesses turning to apprenticeships to stem skills shortage
Credit: Minerva Studio

Digital businesses in the North are taking on more apprentices than ever in an effort to narrow the widening skills gap.

The findings are taken from Manchester Digital’s annual digital skills audit. Of the 250 digital and technology businesses audited, over half had taken on an apprentice in the last year, with the majority (80%) meeting employer expectations.

When asked about the impending apprenticeship levy, four in five digital employers said they believed it would be a good thing for their business.

Businesses in the region are also increasingly recruiting graduates from local universities with 55% declaring they had done so in the last year, up 11% from the 12 months previous. Additionally, one in four digital businesses said they actively run their own graduate scheme.

The audit also looked at which skills were most in demand from the region’s digital businesses – software development, digital marketing, and data / insight analysis came out top while Javascript, PHP and Python were found to be the most used languages.

Katie Gallagher, Managing Director at Manchester Digital, said: “It is great to see so many businesses in the region investing in their talent pipeline and taking on more apprentices than before.

“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.

“With as many as a fifth of the region’s digital businesses turning down work due to a talent shortage, and with no immediate solution in sight, it is imperative that employers look further down the talent supply chain and structure their recruitment strategies to allow for apprenticeships.

“If we can continue to build on this momentum, we are investing not only in the future of our region’s young people but the sustainability of the North West’s digital tech industry too.”