Apprenticeship case studies

Apprenticeships are bridging the UK’s digital skills gap

As the skills gap in tech and digital widens, employers are seeking new solutions.

It’s well known that demand for skilled workers outstrips supply in the tech industry worldwide, and the UK is no exception.

Government research into the UK’s tech skills gap found that 46% of businesses recruiting for hard data skills, which include data visualisation, machine learning, advanced statistics and knowledge of emerging technologies, had struggled to fill vacancies.

As of 2021, there were 215,000 open roles requiring these kinds of advanced IT and data skills.

And the gap is set to widen further. 3 in 5 employers in the UK expect their reliance on advanced digital skills to increase in the next 5 years, according to a 2021 report from the Learning and Work Institute

Investing in more than just skills

Addressing the skills gap isn’t just a matter of keeping up with the employment market or filling empty seats. It could be the difference between building a company equipped for an uncertain future, and one that’s consigned to history too soon.

Advanced digital skills help future-proof companies through innovation and business growth. With the right people empowered with the right skills, a thriving culture of digital innovation can emerge, transforming businesses and giving them the resilience to adapt to technological change now and in the future.

How do we close the skills gap?

There are a few different options open to employers seeking a fresh injection of digital skills. Upskilling and reskilling existing staff, taking on contractors and hiring new employees are some of the most popular routes.

Another strategy is to take advantage of apprenticeship schemes, which help people new to the digital and IT industries to learn as they earn.

Apprenticeships, especially those offered to young people entering the workforce, may be the most logical solution for skills-gap concerns. They combine a cost-conscious approach, a focus on the future and a means of solving immediate staff shortages. 

Here are a few of the benefits apprenticeships have to offer:

  • Extensive financial support is available through the apprenticeships levy, which in many cases covers 100% of the training costs.
  • Apprenticeship programmes are well-defined and structured, with support from outside the business to keep apprentices on track and maximise their chances of success.
  • Apprenticeships offer employers the chance to connect with talented people who are starting or re-starting their careers and may well stay with the company in the longer-term.
  • The skills and approaches 16-19-year-old apprentices learn are often formative, so they are shaping their abilities around your specific needs and business goals. They are well-placed to take on longer-term positions with your company.
  • Apprenticeships place your business at a major advantage in the talent acquisition race, since you are effectively ‘growing your own’ specialist employees and bypassing the scramble to attract established professionals.


School-leaver apprenticeships with QA

We are the UK’s leading tech talent and training organisation, and we’re committed to helping the 6,500 employers we work with to excel in tech and digital while transforming learners’ careers.

QA apprenticeship programmes go above and beyond to connect your company with the right young talent and make your apprenticeship venture a success.

  • A huge talent pool
    We work closely with FE organisations, sixth forms and colleges to create a talent pipeline direct to your business. With 200,000+ candidates on our books every year, we’ll work with you to find the right fit for your company.
  • Committed to diversity and social mobility

We’re passionate about diversity and inclusion in tech and digital. We work with organisations that support diverse talent, including Code First: Girls, Stemettes and Young Professionals, to promote the inclusion of all genders, races, abilities and social backgrounds in our programmes.

  • Support on demand

Our apprentices can tap into their learning support network anytime, anywhere thanks to our Digital by Design (DXD) delivery model. And for employers, there’s easy access to a progress dashboard where you can check programme and apprentice-level status information and download tailored reports.

  • An outstanding track record

Underpinned by our DXD model, we’re proud to say that 98% of our apprentices complete their programmes on time or earlier than expected, and 97% of our learners pass their programme on their first attempt.

  • Specific vendor pathways

Whether it’s Microsoft, Amazon or Google, our roster of vendor partnerships mean apprentices can connect with the skills they need at source and achieve official qualifications like AWS and Microsoft Azure certifications.


Thanks to growing awareness and financial packages from the government, more and more businesses are turning to apprenticeships as a cost-effective way to grow new talent or upskill their existing workforce. While the tech skills gap may be daunting for many organisations, expert help is available to connect your business with a new generation of talent.

Ready to find out more? Get in touch

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