As the UK kicks off National Apprenticeship Week (14th-18th March), numbers show that students submitted 9,330 Apprenticeship applications through UCAS’ service for pre-university courses – UCAS Progress – last year; up 20% on 2014.

There are over 130,000 A-Level, BTEC, Apprenticeship and other vocational courses listed in the system which also offers advice on making successful choices, an application service, and careers information.

The national coverage of post-16 courses in England and Wales features nearly 15,000 Apprenticeships, including Level 2 and 3 in Business Administration, IT, Digital Marketing and Pharmacy.

More than 6,650 Apprenticeship applications have been submitted through UCAS Progress since November, building on a total of 9338 in the full October 2014-October 2015 academic year and 7,784 in 2013-14.

Gina Bradbury, Head of Post-16 Development at UCAS said: “Young people are making education and training choices in a very complex landscape now, with vocational courses becoming increasingly popular both as a route to employment and into higher education.

“It’s a big step forward to see more and more teenagers discovering apprenticeships and other post-16 courses through UCAS Progress, which builds on our long experience of helping people make the right university choices.”

Each day there are more than 2,500 course searches on the site, and 128,000 year 10 and 11s are using the full search and apply service in 2016, already ahead of the last year’s final total.

Some 490 work-based learning providers are actively using the system to market their courses.

UCAS is also working with Richmond MP Rishi Sunak on a pilot project to encourage North Yorkshire businesses to list apprenticeships through the system.

UCAS Progress lets students explore career opportunities, and search academic and vocational courses in their location and across England and Wales. It’s free for students and parents, and for schools advising 11-16 year olds, with schools and colleges opting to receive applications through UCAS Progress paying a small subscription.

Laura Wrigley, of Herne Bay High School, in Kent said: “UCAS progress certainly raised awareness of our post-16 opportunities.  We had our largest Year 12 intake ever this year – 160 students.”

UCAS is supporting National Apprenticeship Week with case studies, advice, and a competition to come up with a new idea for an apprenticeship.