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Build the Future polling


To mark National Apprenticeship Week 2021, the OU teamed up with The 5% Club by polling over 600 employers in England and we found that in the medium-term, the appetite for apprenticeships and work-based learning is now on the rise amongst English employers in the wake of the COVID vaccine. 70% of employers believe that apprenticeships and work-based learning will be vital to their organisations’ recovery – encouragingly this has risen from 50% of employers polled in the OU’s annual Business Barometer in August of 2020. In addition, 66% of English companies who hire apprentices report that apprenticeships have enabled their organisation to bounce-back from the economic fall out of the pandemic more quickly.

Other findings in the polling include:

  • The number of organisations planning to increase their apprenticeship intake over the next twelve months has increased. 72% now plan to hire more apprentices over the next year, up from 61% polled last summer in the OU’s Business Barometer. Encouragingly, this is true for both SMEs and large businesses. 
  • It is still an exceptionally challenging environment for the most hard-hit sectors: 48% of employers in the arts, entertainment and recreation sectors are planning on hiring more apprentices over the next year compared to 81% of employers in the information and digital services sector.
  • In addition, there is a concern for the short-term. Employers report that they are still considering letting go of some of their apprentices, with East of England and London firms are most likely to be planning to let go of some of their apprentices, with fewer firms in the South West planning to do the same. Again, these views seem to be equally shared amongst both SMEs and large employers.