How the ‘Great Reshuffle’ has impacted apprenticeships

Record numbers of people in the UK are changing course on the direction of their careers. We look at what the 'Great Reshuffle' means for apprenticeships.


The ‘Great Reshuffle’ has led to record numbers of the UK workforce changing the course of their career, primed to learn new skills in thriving fields. The shake-up falls at a unique time when apprenticeships are evolving to meet the demands of the most sought-after tech skills.

So why aren’t more employers utilising apprenticeships? Businesses that don’t include apprenticeships in their recruitment and retention plans not only miss out on chances to reinvigorate their teams but also lose ground on their competitors. A 2022 report by AND Digital found that 22% of employees admitted a lack of digital skills was impacting their ability to hit targets and 58% have received no digital training by their employers.

Apprenticeships have never been so valuable but to discover why, let’s explore the current climate.

What is the Great Reshuffle?

Most of us know that Covid ‘pressed reset’ on the way we work. The disruption caused by hybrid working, furloughed wages and a lack of job satisfaction caused a shift in attitudes and people questioned their happiness at work – leading to the beginning of the ‘Great Resignation’.

Even as recently as June 2022, one in five workers (20%) said they were likely to quit their job during the next year. Of the 6.5 million leaving their role, 24% set their sights on achieving a better work-life balance, and 23% had plans to look for a different type of work altogether. Rather than a ‘Great Resignation’ the trend evolved and made way for the ‘Great Reshuffle’.

Of all the reasons to find work elsewhere, moving for better pay and benefits (35%) and increasing job satisfaction (27%), are the most common. The promise of financial and personal gain has created a market where top talent holds the power. The most skilled employees are looking for roles where they feel valued and the best businesses have adapted to meet their needs.

Pro-active employers are investing in apprenticeships to show they believe in their employees, to give them the tools to earn a better salary and accelerate their career. And the benefits don’t end there. Apprenticeships allow employers to retain the best talent, and reap the rewards of a team that are heavily invested in your business’ wider goals.

What apprenticeships can offer

When most of us hear ‘apprenticeship’ we think of tradespeople like electricians, plumbers and bricklayers, but times have changed. Opportunities to earn while you learn a new skill are available in the latest tech careers. Just look at QA’s list of apprenticeship programmes for proof: Cloud Computing, Cyber Security, Data, Analytics & AI, DevOps, Digital Marketing, IT, Software Development.

There’s an apprenticeship for almost every digital specialism and courses like our degree apprenticeships even offer Bachelors and Masters degrees through partnerships with universities.

It’s not just entry-level training on offer, but courses that give more experienced professionals a chance to climb up the career ladder and add value to your business. Take our Senior Leader Apprenticeship, for example, underpinned by a unique and flexible digital delivery model, the course is designed for candidates with degrees and prepares them for Executive or Director roles in the C-suite.

The apprentice is no longer a school leaver with little or no working experience but a seasoned professional with a desire to progress in their career and make your business more profitable in the process.

Are apprenticeships suitable for all businesses?

Apprenticeships are the most cost-effective option for businesses looking to reinvigorate their teams and it’s all possible thanks to the Apprenticeship Levy.

Companies with a payroll of £3m or more pay 0.5% of their total annual pay bill into the Apprenticeship Levy. They then have up to 24 months to utilise the funds in their Apprenticeship Service Account to train their employees in apprenticeships, including the latest digital skills or to upskill and take on more senior roles.

Even if your business doesn’t pay into the Levy, you still have access to Apprenticeship funding. By covering 5% of the cost of the apprenticeship training, businesses get access to the highest quality apprenticeships. SMEs employing fewer than 50 people may even be covered for the full cost of an apprenticeship. You can find out more on our Apprenticeship Levy page.

And then there may also be the option to use transferred Levy funds to pay for an apprenticeship. Levy paying companies can transfer up to 25% of their unused levy each year. The available funds can only be used for apprenticeship training and assessments and are a huge help for businesses looking to stay competitive in their market.

The benefits of apprenticeships are clear for everyone. Employers retain and recruit the best possible talent with the skills needed to really make a difference. Meanwhile, your employees become more satisfied with their work and less likely to look for employment elsewhere.

With the Great Reshuffle mobilising a wealth of skilled professionals looking for new roles and development opportunities, and courses catering to a wide range of skills, employers shouldn’t be asking is this the right time to invest in apprenticeships but how much can apprenticeships boost my business’ bottom line? With QA, the answer is: exponentially.

National Apprenticeship Week

6-12 February is National Apprenticeship Week. Learn how QA are celebrating the occasion with events designed to encourage and inspire the next generation of apprentices: National Apprenticeship Week 2023.



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