account arrow-down-linearrow-down-small arrow-downarrow-download arrow-left-small arrow-leftarrow-link arrow-rightarrow-upaudio-less-volume audio-not-playing audio-plus-volume audio awarded books calendar close-modal closedate document education emailevent Facebookhamburger impact instagramjustice linkedin location-outline location opinion page phonepinterestplay pluspost preview project reports search-bigsearch-old search share startime twitterwelfare youtube zoom-in zoom-out

Digital skills in apprenticeships

Researchers: Dr Stefan Speckesser | Dr Lei Xu ...

By Nuffield Foundation

Project overview

This study will investigate the digital skills obtained through higher or tertiary level apprenticeships and estimate their value in the labour market.

In April 2017, the government introduced the Apprenticeship Levy to encourage employers to create and fund new apprenticeships, now logged through the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education. Since the Levy there has been both a reduction in Intermediate Apprenticeships (equivalent to 5 ‘good’ GCSEs) and an increasing number of Advanced (Level 3 qualifications) and Higher (tertiary) Apprenticeships offered.

At present, there is very little systematic knowledge about these new apprenticeships. Researchers will conduct a systematic review of national and international evidence on higher level apprenticeships. The researchers will then collate data on apprenticeships offered in England to identify patterns in provision. This will include exploratory analysis to understand the apprentices’ role, tasks, and responsibilities, wages, expected duration, targeted skills, and occupation upon completion.

As information on earnings outcomes from these new apprenticeships will not be available for some years the researchers will evaluate the likely impact on earnings by linking data on the apprenticeships offered with current earnings data for occupations requiring the relevant skills.

Findings will provide a detailed profile of skills obtained through apprenticeships, particularly digital skills, and the likely demand from the UK economy in the 2020s.


  • Dr Stefan Speckesser
    National Institute of Economic and Social Research
  • Dr Lei Xu
    National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR)
  • Dr H'ctor Espinoza
    National Institute of Economic and Social Research
  • James Thanni
    National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR)

  • Cheryl Lloyd
    Programme Head, Education
    Nuffield Foundation
  • Director, Education
    Nuffield Foundation

Explore our projects

Search projects

We aim to improve people’s lives by funding research that informs social policy, primarily in Education, Welfare and Justice. We also fund student programmes that give young people skills and confidence in science and research.

We are an open, collaborative and engaged funder that offers more than money. Through connecting the individual projects we fund, we strengthen their collective impact and give voice to an overarching narrative.