Workforce shortages remain a significant challenge for our sectors and apprenticeships can contribute a vital source of talent. Apprentices are highly motivated and eager to learn, often bringing fresh perspective and innovative ideas leading to increased productivity and efficiency within businesses.

Our sectors employ over 20K apprentices around the UK. Yet, we face a persistent challenge: an imbalance in apprenticeship applications, with a disproportionate number of candidates gravitating towards the bigger, more well known companies, leaving SMEs struggling to attract talent.

Facilitating better promotion of apprenticeship openings

Productive discussions in our recent Skills and Workforce Shortage Working Group highlighted a need among SMEs and mid-tier organisations for a platform to better promote their apprenticeship openings. Conversely, many of our larger members reported an oversubscription of applications for their programmes.

To address the inequality and ensure we retain these high calibre candidates who have been unsuccessful in their initial approaches, we believe that creating a shared Apprenticeship Directory will be a mutually beneficial first step in this direction.

By increasing awareness of the whole supply chain, we can empower all businesses to thrive, leading to a broader pool of motivated candidates eager to contribute to our sectors.

Paul Oxley, Head of Government Relations and Policy says,

‘We hear from many members that skills shortages are their main priority to address. By launching a new Apprenticeship Directory, we can coordinate apprenticeship vacancies to help bridge the gap in apprenticeship applications, ensuring a robust and innovative future for our sectors.

‘What Now’- A resource for early career talent

The Apprenticeship Directory will provide an entry point for those looking to start their career, providing information on the wide spectrum of career pathways and apprenticeship opportunities planned for 2025 alongside company information. Testimonials from current apprentices will endorse the career opportunities.

The directory will also offer a pathway for students who have unsuccessfully applied for apprenticeships.

Paul comments,

‘Our sectors provide well paid careers, with many roles outside London and the South East. This directory will showcase the range of apprenticeships, especially for those thinking ‘what now’ after having been declined their initial application. Our longer term vision is for Prime and OEM members to work more closely with their supply chain, connecting hundreds of talented candidates missing out on places within their organisations, with open vacancies available elsewhere in the supply chain.

How it works

The Apprenticeship Directory will be accessible from a landing page online.

We would ask recruitment teams to share the link on your websites and with unsuccessful candidates. This will help facilitate the redistribution of applications among member organisations, ensuring that potential apprentices have the best opportunity to engage with suitable roles across our sectors. This will not only help fill vacancies more efficiently but will also keep talent within our industries.

How to get involved

We want this to be a valuable resource and invite all members to participate. Register interest and share your apprenticeship plans by completing a MS Form to be published soon.

Register your interest in the directory

Information we are collecting includes:

  • Confirming if your organisation offers apprenticeships and would like to opt in to this directory
  • The number of apprenticeship positions planned for 2025 and where located
  • A description of the types of roles or disciplines
  • A short company bio of 25 words
  • A web address and contact information

Feedback is required by early August, with the directory available in September 2024.

We do hope you will support this initiative by sharing your apprenticeship plans.

Your organisation will gain visibility among a wider pool of potential apprentices, enhancing your recruitment efforts and contributing to a stronger, more interconnected industry community.

We believe this initiative will play a crucial role in not only filling apprenticeship positions but also in retaining talent within our sectors. Thank you for considering this opportunity to collaborate and enhance the apprenticeship landscape.

Should you have any questions or require further information, please do not hesitate to contact