Five questions answered on apprenticeship application rises

Applications are up 32 per cent year on year.

The National Apprenticeship Service has said that its data shows online applications for apprenticeships have significantly increased. We answer five questions on this latest jobs data.

By how much have online applications for apprenticeships risen?

According to the data, applications are up by a third. Applications are up 32 per cent year on year, with over 1,403,920 applications made for vacancies in the past 12 months.

How many apprenticeships are there currently available?

National Apprenticeship Service says apprenticeships are popular with employees. It stated that close to 129,000 vacancies were posted online in 2012/13 compared to 101,000 in 2011/12, representing a growth of 27 per cent.

Demand is outstripping supply, but only marginally. There is an average of 11 applicants for each of the 129,000 vacancies posted online.

What are the most popular apprenticeships applied for?

Business and administration is the most popular, with 384,840 online applications made. Second is childcare with 102,450. Third is customer service, with 98,210 applications. Fourth is IT, Software, Web and Telecoms Professional, with 83,760, and fifth is vehicle maintenance and repair with 67,750.

What has the government said about these latest figures?

Skills Minister Matthew Hancock said: "We want to see it become the norm that young people either go to university or into an apprenticeship.

"To match the growing popularity of apprenticeships, I would urge more employers to consider how hiring an apprentice could benefit their business."

What has The National Apprenticeship Service said about the figures?

Jaine Bolton, Director of the National Apprenticeship Service said: "With such strong demand for Apprenticeships, it is vital that we encourage more employers to take advantage of the benefits that Apprenticeships bring. With dedicated support from the National Apprenticeship Service and the AGE 16-24 grant available to small and medium businesses, there really has never been a better time to recruit an Apprentice.

"86 per cent of apprentices stay in employment after their initial Apprenticeship finishes (vi), so it’s no surprise that more than half of young people would choose an Apprenticeship if one was available."

Photograph: Getty Images

Heidi Vella is a features writer for Nridigital.com

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Leader: Trump and an age of disorder

Mr Trump’s disregard for domestic and international norms represents an unprecedented challenge to established institutions.

The US presidency has not always been held by men of distinction and honour, but Donald Trump is by some distance its least qualified occupant. The leader of the world’s sole superpower has no record of political or military service and is ignorant of foreign affairs. Throughout his campaign, he repeatedly showed himself to be a racist, a misogynist, a braggart and a narcissist.

The naive hope that Mr Trump’s victory would herald a great moderation was dispelled by his conduct during the transition. He compared his country’s intelligence services to those of Nazi Germany and repeatedly denied Russian interference in the election. He derided Nato as “obsolete” and predicted the demise of the European Union. He reaffirmed his commitment to dismantling Obamacare and to overturning Roe v Wade. He doled out jobs to white nationalists, protectionists and family members. He denounced US citizens for demonstrating against him. Asked whether he regretted any part of his vulgar campaign, he replied: “No, I won.”

Of all his predilections, Mr Trump’s affection for Vladimir Putin is perhaps the most troubling. When the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, warned that Russia was the “number one geopolitical foe” of the US, he was mocked by Barack Obama. Yet his remark proved prescient. Rather than regarding Mr Putin as a foe, however, Mr Trump fetes him as a friend. The Russian president aims to use the US president’s goodwill to secure the removal of American sanctions, recognition of Russia’s annexation of Crimea and respect for the murderous reign of the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad. He has a worryingly high chance of success.

Whether or not Mr Trump has personal motives for his fealty (as a lurid security dossier alleges), he and Mr Putin share a political outlook. Both men desire a world in which “strongmen” are free to abuse their citizens’ human rights without fear of external rebuke. Mr Trump’s refusal to commit to Nato’s principle of collective defence provides Mr Putin with every incentive to pursue his expansionist desires. The historic achievement of peace and stability in eastern Europe is in danger.

As he seeks reconciliation with Russia, Mr Trump is simultaneously pursuing conflict with China. He broke with precedent by speaking on the telephone with the Taiwanese president, Tsai Ing-wen, and used Twitter to berate the Chinese government. Rex Tillerson, Mr Trump’s secretary of state nominee, has threatened an American blockade of the South China Sea islands.

Mr Trump’s disregard for domestic and international norms represents an unprecedented challenge to established institutions. The US constitution, with its separation of powers, was designed to restrain autocrats such as the new president. Yet, in addition to the White House, the Republicans also control Congress and two-thirds of governorships and state houses. Mr Trump’s first Supreme Court appointment will ensure a conservative judicial majority. The decline of established print titles and the growth of “fake news” weaken another source of accountability.

In these circumstances, there is a heightened responsibility on the US’s allies to challenge, rather than to indulge, Mr Trump. Angela Merkel’s warning that co-operation was conditional on his respect for liberal and democratic values was a model of the former. Michael Gove’s obsequious interview with Mr Trump was a dismal example of the latter.

Theresa May has rightly rebuked the president for his treatment of women and has toughened Britain’s stance against Russian revanchism. Yet, although the UK must maintain working relations with the US, she should not allow the prospect of a future trade deal to skew her attitude towards Mr Trump. Any agreement is years away and the president’s protectionist proclivities could yet thwart British hopes of a beneficial outcome.

The diplomatic and political conventions embodied by the “special relationship” have endured for more than seven decades. However, Mr Trump’s election may necessitate their demise. It was the belief that the UK must stand “shoulder to shoulder” with the US that led Tony Blair into the ruinous Iraq War. In this new age of disorder, Western leaders must avoid being willing accomplices to Mr Trump’s agenda. Intense scepticism, rather than sycophancy, should define their response.

This article first appeared in the 19 January 2016 issue of the New Statesman, The Trump era