Significant possibilities to increase apprenticeships in the library and information sector


A survey of employers in the library and information sector has revealed that while over 70% currently do not run an apprenticeship scheme, a third are interested in doing so and a further 59% are unsure or considering it.

The results also showed that employers view apprenticeships as a way to:

  • Attract new staff
  • Invest in the professional development of their staff
  • Support staff career progression
Employer attitudes to apprenticeships


The survey was carried out by a ‘trailblazer’ group of employers in the library and information sector who will develop new apprenticeship standards with support from CILIP and other key sector bodies.

With the majority of survey respondents viewing apprenticeship schemes as a way of bringing new staff into the organisation the trailblazer group felt that using apprenticeships as a recruitment driver would help address diversity shortfalls within the profession. Developing existing staff through apprenticeships was also seen as important by respondents, with many of them seeing them as a way of helping to plug skills gaps over the next five years.

Apprenticeship levels 3, 4 and 6 were identified as needed the most. The trailblazer group will use these findings to steer and prioritise the development of the standards; and therefore the immediate focus will be on the level 3.

Luke Stevens-Burt, Assistant Director (Member Services) at CILIP said:

“It’s really positive to see such support for apprenticeships from employers and the potential for growth. Working with employers we will use the survey results to shape the new industry-led apprenticeship standards and ensure they meet the needs of the workforce and the sector.”

CILIP’s UK information workforce survey, delivered jointly with the Archives and Records Association (UK & Ireland) in 2015, revealed that there is a high barrier to entry with 61% of the workforce holding a postgraduate qualification, whereas the highest qualification of most of the UK workforce is A-Level or equivalent. Additionally the workforce has lower ethnic diversity than the national UK Labour Force Survey statistic, with 97% of workers identifying as ‘white’, almost 10% above the national workforce average.

Employers can keep up to date with developments with apprenticeship standards by joining the circulation list. Email with the subject line: Join Apprenticeship circulation list.


Headline image, GDD students prepping for grad show by University of the Fraser Valley on Flickr. Cropped and re-sized. CC BY 2.0

Infographic created by CILIP. CC BY-NC-4.0