Home repairs and improvements firm HomeServe received applications from 5,000 people for just a dozen places on its 24-month gas heating apprenticeship programme which is set to start in August.
Oxford typically receives seven applications for each place.
Candidates for the 12 places to study at the HomeServe Apprenticeship Academy in Nottingham came from all over the UK and from all ages and backgrounds.
The news follows the firm’s founder and chief executive Richard Harpin’s call for more trades skills such as bathroom fitters and kitchen installers, to be added to the jobs shortage list because of a growing trades skills shortage.
Karen Halford, people director at HomeServe, said: “The standard of applicants we received has been astonishingly high and we are still processing them.
“Attitudes are changing towards apprenticeships and vocational education. The pandemic has had a huge impact on the youth labour market and routes to employment like trades apprenticeships are becoming increasingly important as part of the long-term economic recovery. But there aren’t enough placements, despite a booming demand for trades skills.
“We know through the work of our charity, the HomeServe Foundation, that we need to dramatically increase the number of trades apprentices we have in the UK if we’re going to be able to build back better and greener and meet the booming demand for home improvements for the longer term. I’m delighted that we, at HomeServe, are doing our bit”.
The new recruits will be fully employed by HomeServe and will be based in Walsall, Liverpool, Nottingham, Milton Keynes and Chelmsford.
Meanwhile, new research has found 48 per cent of mums and dads in the UK would now prefer their children to learn a trade than go to university.
The poll from the Social Market Foundation and the Further Education Trust, found nearly one in four people think studying for a degree isn’t valuable for getting a job, while 85 per cent felt vocational training like apprenticeships are.
HomeServe is one of the UK’s leading home assistance providers and for more than 25 years has been delivering a range of industry-leading services, including plumbing, drainage, electrics, heating and much more, through its own nationwide network of HomeServe-approved engineers.
For information about the Ladder For the Black Country, the apprenticeships programme supported by the Express & Star, visit ladderfortheblackcountry.co.uk