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UK's rapid business growth reliant on digital apprentices

Businesses across the UK must “embrace tech apprenticeships” in the “battle for faster business growth”, according to The Tech Partnership – a network of employers building skills in the digital economy – and the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

According to their combined findings, firms across the UK require 134,000 new tech specialists each year with half of these in junior positions.

The government’s National Apprenticeship Week saw industry leading brands such as Boots, British Airways, Halfords and Greene King pledge to create 23,000 new apprenticeships and this new study reinforces the need for many of these to be digitally focused.

With 1.3 million professionals currently working in the tech specialist field – a six per cent increase on 2014 – an average of 14 people apply for every tech apprenticeship vacancy, compared to nine applications for every apprenticeship as a total average.

Margaret Sambell, director of strategy, The Tech Partnership, said: “Graduates have always been a source of new blood into tech careers.

“But in today’s fast moving environment, employers are also increasingly enthused by apprenticeships as a way to attract and develop new people – and are finding that a rich seam of talent.

“While more and more businesses are introducing apprenticeships, a concerted effort is required across all industries to meet demand, as well as to make sure these apprentices gain the skills they need to actively contribute to Britain’s digital future.”

According to the new findings, companies are twice as likely to offer a tech apprenticeship as they were previously.

The type of firms involved in the Tech Partnership include Google, BT, Accenture, IBM, Microsoft, O2 and Samsung, as well as many leading non-tech partners such as Royal Mail, Asda, BBC and Save the Children.

“It’s vital that companies make use of the best and most effective methods to ensure a successful outcome for both employer and apprentice,” added Sambell.

“Employers have been working together through the Tech Partnership to make it easier for companies to take on a tech apprentice with confidence.”

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