News & Publications

Apprenticeship reform announcements delayed following Brexit. The government was due to provide further funding information for apprenticeship reforms by the end of this month, but Skills Minister Nick Boles said there would be a “little delay” following the decision to leave the European Union – although they can be expected before the summer recess. The detail promised this month and now delayed was:

  • provisional funding bands, which will set the maximum amount of funding which is available for each apprenticeship from April 2017
  • the provisional level of the government support that will be available towards the cost of apprenticeship training if you aren’t a levy paying employer, from April 2017
  • the provisional level of the extra payment you can get for hiring 16 to 18 year old apprentices, from April 2017
  • the provisional amount that will be paid for English and maths training for apprentices who need it, from April 2017
  • eligibility rules that set who you are able to spend apprenticeship funding on and where
  • more information on who can provide apprenticeship training and how you can set up your organisation to deliver apprenticeship training

Apprenticeships: the path to success? poll by YouGov examined how apprenticeships are perceived by three core groups: UK employers, 13-18 year-olds in secondary education, and their parents. They found:

  • 7% of the young people polled plan to do an apprenticeship – 72% plan on going to university or college.
  • 27% of the parents said apprenticeship would be most useful for their children in pursuing a future career, versus 42% who believe a university degree is best.
  • Only 32% say they had heard of a higher or degree-level apprenticeship, compared with 46% of large companies that do know about them.

The research also points to a significant North-South divide in the attitudes of young people and employers towards apprenticeships, with both groups in the South favouring a university degree over work-based learning, compared with those in the North who view apprenticeships more positively. Among the young people surveyed, only 2% of those based in London were looking to take up an apprenticeship as their next educational or career step – significantly lower than in the North of England or Scotland (8%).

OECD Survey of Adult Skills helps to shed some light on the state of the workforces around the world. The report found:

  • Young adults aged 16-24 in England and Northern Ireland scored below average in both literacy and numeracy.
  • England was one of the few countries where the average scores of our 16-24 year-olds was lower than the overall average for the country.
  • England had the highest wage returns to literacy of all surveyed countries: a one standard deviation increase in literacy proficiency in England is associated with a 12.2% increase in hourly wages.

London Economy

The latest London forecast from GLA Economics ( that:

  • On the whole the outlook for the London economy remains positive for the coming years.
  • London household income and spending are both forecast to increase over the next three years.
  • London is forecast to see rises in employment in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
  • London’s Gross Value Added growth rate is forecast to be 2.9 per cent in 2016 with growth increasing to 3.4 per cent in 2017 and 3.3 per cent in 2018.


The Office for National Statistics website has data on employment, unemployment, wages and qualifications at national, regional, local authority and ward level. The latest figures for employment by industry sector (based on March 2016 data):

Sector London % UK %
Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing 0.1 1.2
Manufacturing 2.5 7.8
Construction 5.6 6.7
Wholesale, Retail & Vehicle Repair 11.3 14.6
Transport & Storage 5.1 4.6
Hospitality & Catering 6.6 6.7
IT & Communications 7.6 4.0
Finance 7.0 3.4
Real Estate 2.3 1.5
Professional, Scientific & Technical 13.3 8.7
Administration 9.7 8.5
Public Administration & Defence 4.0 4.4
Education 7.7 8.6
Health & Social Work 10.0 12.4
Arts, Entertainment & Recreation 3.7 2.8
Other Services 2.6 2.7

Future Employment

The annual report from GLA Economics shows that jobs in London are projected to grow by an annual average rate of 0.69 per cent, equivalent to 40,800 jobs per annum, to reach 6.418 million in 2036. The report also provides future projections for both the occupations and qualifications of those employed in London:

  • Employment growth is projected in some service sectors, including the professions, scientific & technical, information & communication, admin & support, and accommodation & food service.
  • Projected declines in manufacturing and some other sectors, including wholesale, transportation and storage, and public administration.
  • Increased demand for higher level qualifications – the proportion of jobs in London requiring either a degree is projected to reach 53 per cent by 2036, with the proportion of jobs with no qualifications reaching less than 5 per cent.

The full report can be found in the GLA London Datastore.


The unemployment rate in London remains higher than the UK as a whole and much higher than the South East. The May 2016 ONS Regional Labour Market Statistics show that:

  • Unemployment in London was 5.8% compared to 5.1% for great the UK as a whole and 3.8% in the South East.

Figures for April 2016 from show that:

  • The all age Jobseekers Allowance claimant rate was 1.8% in London, compared to 1.9% in the UK as a whole.
  • The 18-24 claimant rate was 2.2% in London, below the 2.7% for Great Britain as a whole.

Graduate Employment

According to the latest data (2014-15 academic year) from the Higher Education Statistics Agency:

  • 72% of leavers were working, either in the UK or overseas, a slight increase from 71% of leavers in 2013/14.
  • Of the full-time first degree leavers who were employed in the UK 71% were in posts classified as professional employment (68% in 2013/14). The remaining 29% were working in occupational groups classed as non-professional. Sales and customer service occupations accounted for 10% of all leavers in employment, the largest group in the Non-professional occupations.
  • This year more graduates found work than ever before – 76.6% of graduates were working or combining work and study, against 75.6% in 2012/13 and unemployment fell from 7.3% for 2012/13 to 6.3% this year.
  • Of those first degree leavers reported as being in full-time paid employment in the UK in 2014/15 the median salary reported was £21,000 (£21,000 in 2013/14). The mean salary was £22,500 compared to £21,500 in 2013/14.
  • The percentage of full-time first degree leavers who were unemployed varied between subjects, ranging from those which have traditionally low percentages, such as Medicine & dentistry (less than 1%), Veterinary science (1%), Education (2%) and Subjects allied to medicine (2%) to those with higher percentages of unemployment such as Computer science (10%), Mass communications & documentation (8%), Physical science (8%) and Engineering & technology (8%).
  • Although the Computer science leavers hold the highest percentage of unemployment, this has dropped steadily since 2011/12 (when it was 14%).
  • For Science subject areas 71% of full-time first degree leavers were in employment (either in the UK or overseas) and 5% were unemployed. For other subject areas 69% were in UK or overseas employment and 6% were unemployed.

The full report can be found on the HESA website.


In London the number of people of all ages starting an apprenticeship has increased by over 400% since 2005-06, with a figure of 45,550 starts in 2014-15. However, the proportion of under 25 year-old starters fell from 100% to 56% over the same period. A recent Ofsted report recommended that the planned growth in apprenticeships should prioritise young people aged 16 to 24. Figures since 2011-12 show a fall in total apprenticeship starts – according to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills this decrease is due to “quality improvement measures”.

Apprenticeship Starts Age Under 19 % Age 19-24 %
England London England London England London
2005-06 175,000 11,010 57% 55% 43% 44%
2011-12 520,600 47,230 25% 23% 31% 29%
2012-13 510,200 45,070 22% 21% 32% 31%
2013-14 440,400 40,050 27% 24% 36% 36%
2014-15 499,900 45,550 25% 22% 31% 32%

Data from

The Find an apprenticeship service is run by the National Apprenticeship Service and advertises vacancies across the country. Looking at a sample of advertised vacancies in London live on 20 June 2016:

Sector Vacancies Applicants per Vacancy
Agriculture, Horticulture & Animal Care 1 13
Arts, Media & Publishing 7 49
Business, Administration & Law 590 21
Construction, Planning & the Built Environment 72 38
Education & Training 66 6
Engineering & Manufacturing Technologies 96 16
Health, Public Service & Care 575 17
Information & Communication Technology 108 44
Leisure, Travel & Tourism 18 17
Retail & Commercial Activity 454 11
Science & Mathematics

Weekly updates of highlighted new vacancies in Central London can be found on the Live full-time and part-time jobs page.

Minimum & Living Wage

The National Minimum Wage is set by the government, based on recommendations from the Low Pay Commission. It is the minimum hourly rate that employers must pay their workers. The government has introduced a new National Living Wage, that must be paid to workers who are 25 or over from April 2016. This new National Living Wage is not be confused with the London Living Wage, which is not binding on employers, is based on the cost of living in London and is set by the Living Wage Foundation.

Living Wage


National Minimum/Living Wage




Under 18























* National Minimum Wage increase in effect from 1 October 2015. The new National Living Wage for 25+ year-olds is introduced from April 2016.

** This rate is for apprentices under 19 or those in their first year. All other apprentices are entitled to the National Minimum Wage for their age.