By Daniel Hunter

New historical research released today (Friday) to tie in with the centenary apprenticeship commemorations reveals how employers’ relationships with apprenticeships have changed over the last 100 years.

Employers have always considered apprenticeships to be a beneficial method of vocational training: 100 years ago this was concentrated mainly around artisan trades, but as the number of larger employers grew in the twentieth century this evolved to newer metalworking industries like engineering and shipbuilding.

Top 10 sectors for apprenticeships


1 - Dressmaking
2 - Engineering
3 - Carpentry
4 - Drapery
5 - Millinery
6 - Fitting
7 - Joinery
8 - Tailoring
9 - Plumbing
10 - Printing


1 - Health and social care
2 - Business administration
3 - Management
4 - Hospitality and catering
5 - Customer service
6 - Children’s care learning and development
7 - Retail
8 - Construction skills
9 - Engineering
10 - Hairdressing

The research revealed some interest stats concerning age and gender. In 1914, the majority of apprentices started working aged 15-17, regardless of what sector they were in. In 2014, the age is 19-24. 100 years ago, women made up 22% of apprenticeships, a figure that has significantly increased to 55% today.

Sue Husband, Director of Apprenticeships at the National Apprenticeship Service said:

“The employers of yesterday, like those of today, recognised the value of apprenticeships in equipping people with the skills businesses required. Today more than 100,000 employers are offering quality apprenticeships, building on the example of pioneering forefathers before them.

“We urge employers to take stock on what has been achieved in the last century and to consider how apprenticeships could help their business deliver for years to come.”

You can tweet your reactions to @freshbusiness or email

Join us on
Follow @freshbusiness