In our first post marking National Apprenticeship Week, we drew attention to the issue of how colleges go about targeting employers in order to increase their apprenticeship provision. We made the point that this can be extremely difficult to achieve, as it is not necessarily easy to know which sectors to target and which employers to engage with. However, we also made the point that Labour Market Information (LMI) can play an important role for colleges who are looking to get to grips with this in a more systematic and targeted way.
At the end of the piece, we pointed to three questions that we would attempt to give answers to throughout the week. The first of these was this: “Which industries should we as a college target?”
Before moving on to show how colleges might go about answering this question, we must begin with a couple of important caveats. Firstly, the information below and in subsequent pieces does not in anyway answer the question of how a college actually engages with employers. All colleges will know how difficult it is to start conversations with employers who they are not currently engaged with, and we are not pretending that LMI can help in that. Rather, our aim is simply to show how colleges might use LMI for a more targeted approach in beginning the engagement process. In other words, this is about providing solutions for pre-engagement, rather than giving solutions for the engagement itself.
The second caveat is that the data presented below, and in subsequent pieces, is not intended to mean that the sectors and occupations shown in the tables and graphs are necessarily ones that colleges ought to be engaging with. Some of the industries and occupations shown will not employ/support apprenticeships. Rather, the data presented is simply meant to give a flavour of how colleges might begin to use LMI — together with their own criteria and good judgement — to find and target employers.
That being said, there are many different criteria a college might want to use in order to begin targeting employers in their area. One of the most obvious is to find out which are the biggest employing sectors. The table below, for instance, shows the Top 10 industries in the Greater Manchester area in 2014, in terms of numbers employed (in this example, and in subsequent pieces, we will be using data for the Greater Manchester area, which includes Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford, Wigan):
|Public administration and defence; compulsory social security||52,272|
|Retail sale in non-specialised stores with food, beverages or tobacco predominating||41,902|
|Temporary employment agency activities||40,459|
|Restaurants and mobile food service activities||31,480|
|General secondary education||29,815|
|Business and other management consultancy activities||24,701|
|Accounting, bookkeeping and auditing activities; tax consultancy||24,399|
|Financial service activities, except insurance and pension funding||23,484|
Another set of data that could well be useful is that showing highest growth sectors in the area. The graph below shows the Top 10 growth industries in the Greater Manchester area between 2013-2014:
Another way a college could approach this, would be to choose one particular sector and zoom in on it to find out what is going on in within the industry. So, for instance, the Construction industry has traditionally been a big apprenticeship sector, and therefore a college might want to take a look at some of its constituent parts. The following table shows the Top 10 employing sectors at the 4-digit SIC code (i.e. most specific industry category), within the Construction sector in Greater Manchester:
|Description||2013 Jobs||2014 Jobs||2013 - 2014 Change|
|Construction of residential and non-residential buildings||12,640||12,919||279|
|Construction of other civil engineering projects n.e.c.||7,352||7,469||117|
|Plumbing, heat and air-conditioning installation||5,244||5,275||31|
|Other specialised construction activities n.e.c.||5,134||5,167||33|
|Development of building projects||4,325||4,266||-59|
|Other construction installation||1,675||1,767||92|
|Other building completion and finishing||1,128||1,076||-52|
The usefulness of this information to colleges is not just that it shows which constituent parts of the Construction industry are the biggest employers, but also that it details which of those parts are showing growth or decline. This could prove extremely useful when beginning to think about which employers a college should be targeting.
As stated above, some of the industries shown in all three datasets may or may not employ/support apprenticeships, and colleges would need to use common sense and experience in deciding which sectors might be worth pursuing. All this is intended to do is to give you a very brief snapshot of some of the ways a college might use local and regional data to begin to hone in on potential sectors for employer engagement and potential apprenticeship schemes.
However, as much as this data is of interest, it actually raises more questions than it actually answers. It tells us which sectors are biggest, or which are growing the most, but by itself it tells us nothing about the occupations that make up these sectors. In order for a college to really make inroads into forming a targeted employer engagement plan, the next step is to find out which occupations are found within these industries. We will be showing you how this can be done in tomorrow’s piece.
For more details about our data and tools, contact Andy Durman at firstname.lastname@example.org