COVID-19: The Impact on Apprenticeships 

It can be challenging for young people to decide their next steps after school and college, add COVID-19 into the mix and it can feel even more daunting. The pandemic has certainly left its mark on the world of work so it’s only natural for young people to be concerned over their next steps. 

A common question we’ve been asked by young people is ‘will apprenticeships still be available during and after the pandemic?’ 

While it’s true many employers did or still have paused their recruitment campaigns, there are certainly opportunities still out there for young people. Take Careermap for example, despite certain employers still having frozen their recruitment intakes, at the time of writing this there are 17,575 apprenticeship opportunities available on our website. Employers are now starting to get to grips with the ‘new norm’ at work, they are turning to remote working or for those who can’t, they are ensuring workplaces are COVID-19 safe. 

The Government Response

It is important to remember that Chancellor Rishi Sunak has introduced funding to support young people into apprenticeships and jobs. He explained that for the ‘next 6 months, employers will be given a financial incentive to employ new apprentices’ in a hope that this will drive the economy forward. Chancellor Rishi has also unveiled the ‘Kickstart Scheme’ to create work placements and young people can study Level 2 and 3 courses if they face unemployment.

Some students will be considering going to university while others will be thinking about the apprenticeship route. Career guidance has never been more important. It’s hard to keep up with the constantly changing labour market, especially at the moment. Undoubtedly, a lot of young people will be looking for reassurance and for those who are unsure of what to do next need to be reminded that it’s perfectly ok. You don’t need to have everything figured out.

There is a common misconception from young people that a job is for life. In today’s labour market that couldn’t be further from the truth. We like to think of career paths as zigzags. Every job you work in will provide a stepping stone to new opportunities so even if you’re not starting in a career you originally planned to be in, that isn’t a problem. If you make a wrong choice again that’s fine, it’s a lesson to be learnt and will help point you in the right direction. 

Knowing what you want to do at a young age can feel overwhelming. There are lots of options from securing a first job, an apprenticeship, A-Levels or university. We speak to many young people who explain, they want to go to university but don’t want to sit A-Levels. It’s surprising how many young people aren’t aware that a BTEC, Advanced or Higher Apprenticeship can all pave the way to a university degree. And then, of course, there are Degree Apprenticeships which enable young people to gain a degree without any tuition fees, while earning and learning.

Skills For a Post COVID-19 Workforce

Although many young people won’t necessarily have previous work experience, that doesn’t mean their skills are non-existent. In fact, it’s likely they’ll possess more than they think. It’s important to identify these and highlight them when making an application. Transferable and soft skills can be gained from both personal and professional experiences, these can be applied to any role or industry. Here are a few examples of transferable skills, which young people may have gained during education and extra-curricular activities:

  • Communication skills
  • Leadership
  • Problem solving
  • Time management
  • Team working
  • Flexibility
  • Resilience

You can find out more about the changing skills demand from Emsi.

While it’s true that the UK economy isn’t great at the moment, it’s important to remind young people that there are still opportunities out there. Young people need to use this time wisely to build their skills, look after their mental health and keep positive.  

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