Apprenticeships Gaining Popularity in the Isle of Man

The number of students on apprenticeship programmes at University College Isle of Man (UCM) has grown by 11%, compared to the last academic year.

(Mrs.) Jo Pretty, Principal of UCM commented, “Apprenticeships are a fantastic way for individuals to develop the skills and knowledge required for a rewarding career, and for businesses to build their future workforce. The rise in apprenticeships reflect how students and businesses appreciate the diversity of opportunities and value that apprenticeship programmes offer to them.”

“Last year, our students in apprenticeships scored exceptional achievement rate of 84%*, which is 20% higher than the UK national benchmark**, further demonstrating the effectiveness of this practical approach to learning,” she added.

This year’s Apprenticeship Week theme is ‘Build the Future’, and the UK national campaign will start from 8th to 14th February. In line with this, UCM will be celebrating the achievements and success of their students in apprenticeships, on their social media channels.

One of the case studies, Aaron Bell, an apprentice at the Department of Health & Social Care, currently studying the HNC in Administration & IT course at UCM, shared that this method of learning has proven to be very beneficial for him, “This apprenticeship opportunity has really built my confidence and led me to acquire more experience in office administration.”

Businesses have long seen the benefits of apprenticeships as an effective way to fill the skills gap, upskill and revitalise the workforce. The growth and success of apprenticeships on the Island will bring about advantages to the local economy.

Dave Hester, Managing Director of Swagelok; Board Member of Business IOM representing Engineering & Manufacturing sectors and Chair of STEM Committee, IOM Chamber of Commerce commented, “The Isle of Man manufacturing companies continue to rely heavily on the bespoke apprenticeships run by UCM to provide the continuity of skilled labour required to compete in a competitive global market. These courses develop the skilled people we need to navigate the complex equipment and processes found in our modern engineering companies here on the island”.

“The UCM facilities and trainers give the apprentices an excellent insight into a real production environment, so that they hit the ground running when they join our companies for full time employment. We are very proud of our apprenticeship programmes and of the many skilled people who have taken this career path and now contribute to the commercial success of the island’s engineering sector,” Dave added.

UCM offers a wide range of courses on apprenticeships, including: agriculture, brickwork, business administration, carpentry and joinery, construction technician, creative arts/media, dental nursing, electrical engineering, electrical installation, manufacturing, hairdressing, hospitality & catering, horticulture, ICT, motor vehicle, engineering, painting & decorating, plumbing and sports.

Those who would like to know more about studying on an apprenticeship programme are invited to attend UCM Information Morning, on Saturday 27th February 2021, from 9.30am -12.30pm. Geoff Chatwood, Vice Principal of UCM will be presenting a talk about apprenticeships, as well as answering any questions on the topic. More details on

Most apprenticeships start in September, however if there is a demand from the employers a rolling programme may be provided, so apprentices can start at different points during the year. Businesses interested to develop a new framework for their industry/organisation, please email

* Results for 2019/2020 academic year and are pandemic adjusted figures. 

** 2018/19 UK National Apprenticeship Achievement Rates