Applying for an apprenticeship can feel quite intimidating if you are a school leaver and you are pondering the next step on your education and career journey. It is something that most people have no experience of doing before they actually take the plunge and apply for their first apprenticeship, so we have compiled a list of tips in order to demystify the process and make it a little easier.
Think Carefully About What Interests You
Try not to just fall into doing what seems like the easiest way of earning some quick money. Think about your own reasons to start an apprenticeship. Taking a more strategic view will allow you to have a long and fulfilling working life, doing things in an area that is of interest to you. If you are interested in computers, consider becoming an IT engineer or perhaps a software developer. If you are more mechanically minded, you may wish to look at automotive repair as an option. Job satisfaction is an important aspect of a happy life so it is worth putting in the effort to figure out what you want to do.
There are a huge number of different apprenticeship standards now available in the UK and you can choose from apprenticeships in all manner of different subject areas, including those that were either only briefly touched upon at school or weren’t catered to at all.
Understand What Applying for an Apprenticeship Entails
One of the best things about going down the apprenticeship route is that you are able to earn while you learn. Apprenticeships are 80% on-the-job training and 20% off-the-job training, where you will be studying for the academic portion of the course. The beauty of apprenticeships is that you are paid the same for both aspects and the off-the-job training helps you to gain the knowledge that is necessary to do the job to the level that is required.
An apprenticeship can generally last anywhere from one to three years and it is important to understand at the outset what the duration will be. The apprenticeships are also set at different levels which mirror the levels of academic achievement that you will have accomplished by completing them. They are grouped into intermediate apprenticeships, advanced apprenticeships, higher apprenticeships and degree apprenticeships.
In order to complete an apprenticeship, you will have to take an End Point Assessment. This comes at the end of the apprenticeship and is a way of ensuring that you have gained the necessary skills to be considered to have successfully completed the apprenticeship. It is a form of standardisation and means that all apprenticeships of a particular title should be able to produce people who have learned the same skills necessary to succeed in their field.
Compare Your Own Qualities to What is Needed
This is an important aspect of deciding which apprenticeship is the right one for you. It is important to select something that fits well with your temperament and character as this makes it far more likely that you will be able to see it through to completion.
Think about the qualities that a role might need. For example, if you are looking to pursue a management apprenticeship, you will need to have a mature outlook and be able to demonstrate a track record of interacting well with others. In order to pursue an apprenticeship in this area, you will have to be able to show good leadership and having previously been in a leadership role, such as a team captain in a school sport, will have taught you valuable skills.
If you are looking at a role in the health service, such as an ambulance support worker, you will have to be able to remain calm, even when under extreme pressure. This is not a skill that everyone has but it is one that would make this apprenticeship standard much easier to do.
If you are quite introverted and detail-oriented, you may be suited to computer programming. It is something that is often done as a remote worker rather than from an office. This means that the ability to work alone and do so productively would stand you in good stead in that kind of career.
These are just a few examples but the more that you can figure out about your own attributes, strengths and weaknesses the easier it will be to find a suitable apprenticeship that will be the right level for you when it comes to both challenges and rewards. Ask your friends how they see you and ask if they can give you a list of words that describe your personality. Take the time to think about their responses and determine whether or not you agree with them.
Learn How to Improve Your CV and Cover Letter
One of the things that will stand out to potential apprenticeship employers is a good CV and cover letter, so it is worth investing the time to learn how to improve your skills in this area. It is important not to make them too long.
A cover letter shouldn’t be any more than one A4 page in length, as it has to hold the attention of the reader. When applying for an apprenticeship, a CV may be two pages long and is designed to capture the relevant information about your prior educational achievements as well as any personal attributes that you may feel are relevant.
It is important to give a good impression of yourself but you must ensure that you don’t tell an outright lie on CVs or cover letters as this can gain you an early reputation of being untrustworthy which can be disastrous for your career prospects.
Applying for an Apprenticeship in the UK
Once you have figured out what you would like to apply for, one of the most daunting steps is to actually go for it. Take a look at our dedicated apprenticeship jobs board to find out about some of the interesting opportunities in your subject area, as well as the apprenticeships that are located close to where you live. This can help you to hone your choices and narrow down what you are looking for.
Once you have done this, all that is left to do is apply. Good luck on your apprenticeship journey!