The last six months have seen record numbers of apprenticeship vacancies on offer. If you think an apprenticeship might be the right option for you, here are some top tips on applying for apprenticeships.
Search for Vacancies
There are plenty of ways you can search for vacancies. First of all, you will find adverts for apprenticeships on college and training provider websites like ours. You can also search on the government site for apprenticeships. This site allows you to filter by the job role, sector or employer you are interested in, as well as your location. If you’re getting ready to leave school or college, you may also have a careers adviser that you can get in touch with for advice.
Read the Job Description
If you’re new to the world of work, you may not be familiar with the variety of job roles and titles that are out there. In most job descriptions you will find a list of responsibilities. Have a good read of these because they are the things you will be doing on a day to day basis so you want to make sure that they are the types of things you want to do in your job role. You should also check the person specification or eligibility criteria and make sure you meet any essential requirements. If the advert, for example, says that you must have GCSE English and maths 4-9, there is probably no point in applying if you don’t have these grades. Applying for apprenticeships when you don’t meet the eligibility requirements will quickly make you disheartened because you won’t get shortlisted. If you’re not sure about any of the criteria they have specified, you can always give the employer or training provider a call or send them an email to get clarification before taking the time to do the whole application.
Check the Location
Google the location, see how far away the vacancy is and research what public transport is available if you aren’t going to be driving to work. We often get individuals applying for vacancies which are a long commute from where they live. The idea of travelling for an hour to get to work might not seem such a bad idea, but it can quickly start to wear you down after a few weeks.
Add Up Your Expenses
You need to have a think about what money you need for getting to and from work, bills such as your mobile phone, as well as money for going out with friends, hobbies, buying clothes and other products. Make sure that the apprenticeship wage being offered is going to cover all of these expenses. Apprenticeship salaries are often less than those for other jobs, because the employer is investing time and money in your training and development but don’t apply for vacancies if you’re not going to be able to survive on the money that they are offering.
Take Your Time
It’s usually obvious when someone has rushed through an application – there are lots of errors, answers are very short and it contains irrelevant information. You need to take some time to think about the duties and eligibility in the advert so that you can demonstrate how you meet these requirements with any skills and knowledge you already have. It’s ok that there will be duties on there that you won’t be able to do until you’ve had some training, it’s just about showing that you are capable of developing those skills with that support.
When you are describing the skills and knowledge you have, you should always try and back this up with an example. So don’t just say “I am reliable”, say “I am a reliable person – I had a 100% attendance record in my final year of high school” or something along those lines. Examples don’t just have to be from work, they can be from achievements at school, college, hobbies, work placements and with family and friends.
Tailor Your Application
It can be tempting to cut and paste the same information for every apprenticeship job application you make but what is relevant for one role, might not be relevant for another. Some or many of your points may stay the same, but make sure the skills and examples you use match up to the duties and person specification from the job advert to maximise your chances of success.
It’s really off-putting to an employer when there are basic spelling and grammatical errors in a job application, particularly when the role will involve written communication. If you are completing a form online and there is no spellcheck option, you can always type your answers into Word first, do a spellcheck and then cut and paste the content over to the online form. In addition to a basic spellcheck, it’s also always a good idea to get someone else to read your application before you submit. They can spot mistakes, but may also have some suggestions for things you could add to improve your answer.
Get an Update
If it gets close to the closing date and you haven’t heard anything, give the employer a call or send them an email and ask for an update. This shows that you are proactive and enthusiastic, two qualities that are really important in an apprentice. But you also need to show patience. Don’t hound the employer over and over again when you don’t hear back from them straight away. Sometimes recruiting managers are not able to shortlist or schedule interviews right away so it can be a couple of weeks before you hear anything.
Don’t Give Up
If you’re unsuccessful with your first couple of applications, try to not get too disheartened. Apprenticeships tend to be pretty competitive. If you’re applying through a training provider like Damar Training, they will be able to provide you with some advice on how you can improve your CV or job application to increase your chances of success. You can view and apply for Damar apprenticeships on our vacancies page. For advice and guidance on your application, give us a call on 0161 480 8171.