How to apply for Apprenticeships

An apprenticeship is a placement for students that are looking to gain on-the-job experience in an industry of their choosing. Typically, apprenticeships tend to last for 12 months and are usually combined with a student’s learning at college, school or university. Unlike school or university where the new year starts in September, you can apply for and start an apprenticeship at any time of year.

There are six steps that are needed in order to apply for an apprenticeship, though not all apprenticeships are approached the same way and it often comes down to the recruitment procedures of the companies that you’re applying to. 

Decide what you want to do

What are you passionate about? Deciding what you’re passionate about is an essential part of selecting an apprenticeship. You don’t want to be doing an apprenticeship in something you hate, so choose the subject or the area that interests you the most and see what apprenticeships are available. If you’re good at maths, enjoy using your hands, and have an interest in construction, building, manufacturing or design, the shopfitting and fit-out industry could be for you.

Apply for the jobs

Some industries may already have a dedicated apprenticeship portal for students, for instance those looking for media apprenticeships may have to go to a dedicated online website, such as Prospects, but those looking for construction apprenticeships may be able to use other dedicated portals or even apply directly. Searching for apprenticeships works in much the same way that you might search for a university course or apprenticeships in architecture.

Speak to tutors

Whether you’re going to university or college, your tutors will have a good understanding of the industry and may even have some contacts for you to speak to. Your tutors will be able to steer you in the right direction and may even be able to give you some good advice on how to start off your search. 

Your tutors will likely have connections to local businesses and therefore many be able to find you more local work as well.

Book an interview

If you are applying through a portal, then your application will be handled by a third-party who will hand the application over and will organise any interviews therein. 

If you applied yourself, that means you may need to do some chasing yourself and will need to organise the next stage of the interview from there.

Your interview will work just like any other job interview. They will ask you about your experience, your qualifications and more. At the interview, they will want to gauge what kind of person you are, whether or not you have a passion about the industry you’re looking to work in and whether or not you have done your research on the industry or company.

Having industry knowledge, such as checking out potential competitors or even what products or services are taking the industry by storm is likely to stand you in good stead, so make sure you do plenty of research prior to applying.

Prepare yourself

Apprenticeships do not work the same way as a normal job. You will likely not be working at the company for more than three or so days-a-week as apprenticeships are designed to be used to balance out your educational work and on-the-job experience. 

Many college or university courses may have a placement year or an apprenticeship as a mandatory requirement for many students. An apprenticeship is meant to provide you with experience, not actual work.

By this, we mean that an apprenticeship is meant to show you how the industry works, what rules and regulations are across the industry and which governing bodies are in charge of the procedures. This means that work will be in short supply as you will mainly be working with people who are there to provide you with knowledge, rather than you going off and working on your own.

That’s not to say that there won’t occasionally be work for you to do or tasks to complete, you will be kept busy during an apprenticeship, but with more of an emphasis on the experience element, rather than actual work.

Start your apprenticeship

Starting an apprenticeship can always be a scary prospect for many students, especially those that have never worked before, but you shouldn’t worry, the people there are there to help you. 

You should look on your time as an apprentice as a chance to learn more about the working world and the industry you’re working in. It is a great chance to forge some industry contacts and to establish some tangible work for you when you eventually finish your university or college course. 

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