Science Industry Partnership

08 Feb 2021

Science industry employers reveal new ambitions for Apprenticeships following latest survey results

The Science Industry Partnership (SIP), supported by Cogent Skills, a powerful employer-led membership alliance, has today (Monday 8 February) announced its latest Apprenticeship Survey findings and the launch of a new group to support the sector’s Apprenticeship ambitions.

Coinciding with National Apprenticeship Week 2021 (8-14 February), the SIP’s new Apprenticeship Strategy Group will strengthen employer engagement to ensure the Apprenticeship system accurately reflects the needs of employers.

The report provides insight into the use of apprenticeships and their funding after examining data from employers across the UK science industry.  The latest figures reveal that whilst the science industry continues to embrace apprenticeships and technical education, more work is required to deliver the vision of apprenticeships for the sector. 

The research shows that science-industry organisations have a far greater proportion of Higher-Level Apprentices (51%) when compared across all sectors (19%) and that 18% of apprentices are working at Levels 6 or 7 (leaping from just 6% in 2018).

Research was first undertaken in 2018 in response to the Life Sciences Sector Deal with the ambition of bolstering the 250,000 skilled scientific and technical employees needed through to 2025; the 2020 report provides an evidence base on how the Apprenticeship system is working and what changes the sector would like to see. 

The new SIP Apprenticeship Strategy Group will work collaboratively to improve accessibility and deliver the vision of apprenticeships for the science-using industries. Key priorities will be engaging science employers of all sizes to ensure that quality, standards, and end-point assessments are appropriately designed, and that the science industry has representation throughout the skills system.

According to the new apprenticeship research, there has been much progress made since 2018. The survey reveals that the Apprenticeship Levy system’s overall engagement has steadily improved too with the vast majority of apprentices within the sector (95% of those surveyed) now funded via the levy. As a result, the levy recovery rate has more than doubled to 28% (up from 13% in 2018).

In total, 82% of organisations are currently training apprentices. Higher amounts of levy liability payments are now being captured at £23.3m against £22.6m in 2018, but adjustments could further enhance the levy. The SIP has the ambition to help science organisations surpass the national average of levy recovery either by increasing the number of apprentices they train or by helping to transfer levy.

Mr Stewart continued:

“By collaborating through our influential employer-led alliance, we can work in partnership with the Government and take more ownership of the skills needed to generate innovation and growth in the science industries. We will continue to champion policy reform and creating standards by which others follow.”

Since 2018, the SIP has supported and facilitated seven new Science Industry Apprenticeship standards, including L6 Laboratory Scientist, L7 Research Scientist and L7 Bioinformatics Scientist. These have contributed to the shift towards Higher Level and Degree Level Apprenticeships.

The SIP report marks the start of National Apprenticeship Week, the annual week-long celebration of Apprenticeships taking place across England. This year is the 14th annual National Apprenticeship Week (#NAW2021), coordinated by the National Apprenticeship Service.

The inaugural meeting of the Apprenticeship Strategy Group will be taking place on February 12, to register your interest contact

Access the full Apprenticeship Survey 2020 report