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How to Apply for an Apprenticeship

18 May 2023

An apprenticeship is a great way of getting your career started, by gaining work experience whilst also working towards a formal qualification. Apprenticeships are an increasingly popular alternative to going into full time employment or heading off to university. However, with the increase in popularity, success is also more difficult to achieve.

Why Choose an Apprenticeship?

One of the things that has made apprenticeships so popular in recent years is that they are competing with University courses where tuition fees can see students burdened with massive debts by the time they graduate. With apprenticeships you earn as you learn and aren’t charged for the academic side of things, so you won't have to pay any tuition fees and you will be earning money, while also gaining relevant work experience in your chosen field.

Another great reason to choose to take on an apprenticeship is that there is an enormous amount of choice available, with many of the apprenticeships in hands-on job roles within the construction sector or working with complex machinery.

If you are someone who is good with their hands then some of the apprenticeships that are available are custom-designed for you, and you may find that the range of choices that is open to you is far larger than you had thought possible.

This is one of the things that we often hear from apprentices. They are amazed at the level of choice that is available and it can actually be somewhat difficult to narrow down the areas of interest because there are so many interesting and exciting opportunities.

Finding the Right Apprenticeship for You

First and foremost, search for an apprenticeship that suits you. This is key, finding something which is suited to your interests and experiences is essential, not only for being successful but for finding the career path that’s right for you. There’s no point being successful in an apprenticeship if it’s something you know you won’t enjoy in the longer-term.

If you have hobbies, look at how you can use the skills that you have built up from them in an apprenticeship context. If you have always had an interest in computers then some of the system administrator or software developer type apprenticeships may be right up your street, whereas if you have been tinkering with engines since you were small, you can turn your hand to becoming a mechanic or engineer. The possibilities are almost endless.

When looking at apprenticeships, you will notice that there are a range of different apprenticeship types and these are intermediate, advanced, higher and degree. These designations relate to the different academic levels of the apprenticeships, with those ranked as “intermediate” having the lowest entry qualifications to get into, with “advanced” being slightly more difficult, and so-on. These also relate to the level of academic qualification that you will receive at the end of the apprenticeship, once you have successfully completed the End Point Assessment. 

Applying for an Apprenticeship

Once you have found the role(s) which suit you, getting the application right is key. 

Apprenticeships usually require the completion of a bespoke application form, whether online or downloadable. One useful method of making it easier to write about yourself on these forms is by printing off any CV’s, cover letters or personal statements you may already have used, as well as anything else that might help you with the application. Having these prompts by your side will be helpful when finding points to speak about in the appropriate forms.

Another useful tip to consider when applying for apprenticeships is to have a fresh start every time you apply for a new one. You might be thinking that this will be more time consuming and require a lot more effort, but it will help the application appear more genuine and will make each application stand out for being specific.

Be sure to sell yourself in your application, tell the employer why you’re the right candidate – what you bring to the table. Look into the advert, identify what they are looking for, i.e. what qualities make an ideal candidate.

Link your skills to the ones they are looking for and outline your interests, strengths and experience, giving evidence that you are the person they need.

Be sure to include information about your hobbies and interests that are not limited to work, this will give a recruiter a better insight as to what type of person you are, and it will also help to make you stand out from the crowd.  This is especially effective if your personal interests have helped you develop some of the skills they are seeking.

Be sure to proofread any application you send off at least once. Employers can receive hundreds of applications for apprenticeships, so the better worded and punctuated an application the more likely a recruiter is to take an interest. Ask a friend or family member to read over it too as a fresh pair of eyes can spot mistakes much easier.

If you are able to complete the application online, consider signing up to a free grammar checker like Grammarly, which will help you to avoid some of the more common grammar mistakes that people use. This can be very helpful and will help to ensure that you are sending in a high quality application for the apprenticeship. It is all about maximising your chance of success and using tools like this to help can be a smart use of the resources that are available to you.

And finally, don’t forget your contact information! One common and critical mistake people make is forgetting to include enough contact information! Double check there are one or two ways a recruiter can contact you.

Also, make sure your credentials are appropriate, do not include personal email addresses that are inappropriate or related to a memes or joke. Something with your name in it would be ideal, even if you have to set up an email address specially to deal with job and apprenticeship applications.