28 June 2024

Guest blog – UK Tech Sector: The Rise of Apprenticeships

The UK tech industry has seen significant growth over the past few years, and as of 2022, the industry saw over 3 million people working within the UK tech industry. The UK is said to be leading the way in responsible and value led innovation within tech and deep science. With the South West region Tech Sector having a collective turnover of £46.7bn in 2023, and startups 17% more likely to be operating after 5 years than if based in London, the South West is increasingly becoming a significant player in the tech landscape.

Despite the industry’s rapid growth, women are still significantly underrepresented, making up only 29% of the UK tech workforce, with 4 out of 5 women stating the lack of career development opportunities has contributed to them leaving the tech industry all together. Apprenticeships in the tech industry are gaining momentum as a viable path to creating development opportunities, bridging the skills gap, and increasing diversity within the workforce. This provides a great opportunity to challenge this disparity, by creating accessible pathways for women to have the career development they desire, whilst gaining practical experience and industry recognised qualifications.

For organisations employing Apprentices, the UK government will cover up to 95% of training costs if they do not pay the apprenticeship levy​. However, the Share to Support Scheme commissioned by the West of England Combined authority and funded by the UKSPF (UK Shared Prosperity Fund), facilitate funding to cover 100% of training costs, through Large Levy paying organisations who have committed to gifting their unspent Levy in the region. With over £4.5 million pledged to support SME’s accessing Apprenticeships in the West of England, and over £3 million gifted to SME’s to fund these costs already, this financial support makes it easier for companies to invest in diverse talent, including women who are entering the tech field.

Statistics show the positive impact of such programs. According to a government survey, 92% of employers who hired apprentices reported that apprenticeships led to a more motivated and satisfied workforce​ (GOV.UK)​. Additionally, 74% of employers said apprentices improved product or service quality, underscoring the value apprentices bring to businesses.

By focusing on apprenticeships, the tech industry not only addresses the skills shortage but also promotes inclusivity. Apprenticeships can be a transformative step towards a successful career in tech, helping to build a more diverse and innovative industry. The West of England Apprenticeship Service and Share to Support scheme offers a free and impartial service to help businesses tap into Apprenticeships, providing essential support and funding to help businesses grow and individuals thrive. Get in touch to talk about how we can support you: Jane.Deane@wtpn.org.uk and Katie.Green@wtpn.org.uk

You can also one of our drop in sessions:

Engine Shed, Temple Meads, Bristol – Every Wednesday, 9am – 1pm Free Weekly Business Apprenticeship Guidance Drop-In Session | The WTPN

Future Space, Stoke Gifford, Bristol – The first Thursday of the Month, 10am – 12.00pm Monthly Future Space Apprenticeship Guidance Drop-In Session | The WTPN

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