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Signalling new opportunities? An analysis of UK job adverts for degree apprenticeships

Fabian, Khristin; Taylor-Smith, Ella; Smith, Sally; Bratton, Andrew


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Prof Sally Smith
Head of Graduate Apprenticeships and Skills Development and Professor


The purpose of this study is to gain insight into the degree apprenticeship labour market and employers' strategies for apprenticeship recruitment using job advertisement data. Specifically, this study identifies the skills, attributes, experience and qualifications that employers look for in IT apprentices. The study also identifies the salaries and responsibilities of apprentices and considers the alignment between the advertised jobs and apprenticeship definitions.

Degree apprenticeship job adverts (n = 290) were collected from the official websites used by employers in England and Scotland to advertise apprenticeship roles, between March 2019 and March 2020. Data was analysed using content analysis to systematically elicit salaries, candidate requirements in terms of skills, qualifications and experience and specific job details from these adverts.

A wide variation in advertised salary was found. Entry routes were similar to the traditional high school qualifications (A-levels or Highers) sought by universities. The skills and attributes being sought at recruitment were the same skills that employers were seeking in graduates and the same skills that the apprenticeships were designed to develop. Most adverts focused on the training that the apprentices would be receiving, rather than work tasks, which were rarely specified.

This is the first study of how apprenticeship roles are advertised to potential candidates and thus contributes to ongoing research into this new work/degree-level education model. By analysing job adverts we share insights into how employers position apprenticeships to attract candidates.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 28, 2022
Online Publication Date Jan 18, 2023
Publication Date Apr 27, 2023
Deposit Date Jan 4, 2023
Publicly Available Date Jan 18, 2023
Print ISSN 2042-3896
Publisher Emerald
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 13
Issue 2
Pages 299-314
Keywords job adverts, degree apprenticeship, work-based learning, recruitment, skills, social mobility, IT
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Signalling New Opportunities? An Analysis Of UK Job Adverts For Degree Apprenticeships (accepted version) (276 Kb)

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