Considering an Apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships have provided an essential role in ensuring that our economy thrives, and that people reach their full potential within the workplace.  Apprenticeships continue to be an incredibly popular choice for school leavers to more mature learners to develop the key knowledge, skills and behaviours that employers want.

What are the benefits of an apprenticeship?

There’s never been a better time to use an apprenticeship to get on the job ladder and, of the many advantages of an apprenticeship, the most valuable (and attractive to employers) is professional experience.

On becoming an apprentice you will…

  • have direct exposure to a business community you may choose to make your career within.
  • have the opportunity to form close working relationships with industry professionals, witness the inner workings of the business, and make valuable contacts.
  • get direct, hands-on training—apprentices learn by seeing and by doing, as well as by learning theory.
  • get a first-hand feel for the nature of the work as well as a chance to develop the knowledge and skills needed to become competent in the  role and progress to the next level.
  • get paid whilst gaining skills and qualifications.

Earn whilst you Learn

Just like permanent job positions, the Government sets a minimum wage for anyone taking part in apprenticeships. From April 2019 this rate has been  set at £3.90 per hour. Many companies do see an apprenticeship as an investment. If you’re offered an apprenticeship position, you’re potentially being offered the opportunity to progress to a long-term career.

In many circumstances, an apprentice can mostly be paid to progress their way through Level 2, Level 3, Level 4, and Level 5 up to degree level. Other advantages vary among employers but can include things like flexible working hours, part-time schedules, and the chance to work in one’s chosen field with little or no previous education or experience. In addition, apprenticeships entitle workers to paid holidays.

EDUC8 TOP TIP: Remember – even if the job you have seen advertised doesn’t say it is an apprenticeship it could be turned into one so it’s worth asking the question.

What are the requirements for becoming an apprentice?

The beauty of apprenticeships is that they often require very little in the way of pre-requisites. Basic nationwide working requirements, such as being of legal school leaving age, are usually all that’s needed. Some apprenticeships require a Grade 9 – 4 in English and Maths GCSE whilst others will accept lower grades so long as you are committed to continuing to study Maths and
English as part of the apprenticeship.

The chances are that you’ll be competing with others in a similar position to your own, and so anything you can do to improve your application will be helpful; this means showing up for your interview promptly and in a suitable fashion, with a strong CV and being fully prepared to show your best professional qualities to prospective employers.

What type of person does an apprentice suit?

There’s no ideal person exclusively suited for apprentice work, however if you don’t particularly like sitting in classrooms, if you like getting out there, getting stuck in and being more hands on, then an apprenticeship can be an excellent option!

The perfect apprentice…

…is a keen learner, a good listener, and someone who can efficiently implement the training they receive! Apprenticeships are preparation for future careers, and employers want to hire workers who can develop their skills

…is a problem solver! Employers love problem solvers. Throughout the work day, minor problems always arise, and companies need employees who can think on their feet to fix or circumvent the obstacles that inevitably come up, without always having to rely on others for help.

…has strong people skills. Strong people skills are also a must have, and
not only in jobs that involve customer service. In any profession, it’s always important to work well alongside co-workers and bosses toward the company’s mutual goals.

…is reliable! Reliability is essential. Employers need their apprentices to show up on time, work hard, focus on their jobs, and not miss work unnecessarily.

EDUC8 TOP TIP: Employers are keen to have socially-aware and pro-active apprentices, so use social media to connect with prospective employers. Look at facebook.com/apprenticeships and follow @apprenticeships

Applying for your apprenticeship

1. Research
Think about what industry you ought to work in and narrow down your options, then, investigate the opportunities available in your area. Use local government job placement resources and contact businesses you are familiar with to inquire about future apprenticeship programs. Once you manage to locate a few promising opportunities, you’ll need to contact them about their specific employment requirements, download an application form, or––even better––pay them a visit!

2. Smarten up your CV
Long before the interview, your CV is the first glimpse a prospective employer gets of you. So it’s critical that you put together a clean, professional document which highlights your strengths. Remember: when you are applying for an apprenticeship, don’t be overly bashful about a scanty CV; there is no need to try to fill it with unnecessary fluff or exaggeration. Employers won’t be expecting you to have years of experience, and you will only be hurting your professional image if you load up your CV with trivialities or falsehoods.

3. Write a kick-ass cover letter
When an employer is looking to hire, they will often be left with a large stack of similar-looking CVs to sort through. Needless to say, it goes a long way if you can make yours stand out from the pile. A sharp, succinct and well-written cover letter is an excellent way to make an impression that will set your application apart from the rest.

4. Make that first impression count
Dress sharp, speak clearly, make eye contact and give a firm handshake. Above all, you want to project confidence and intelligence – qualities that can be communicated in subtle ways:

  • Practice, practice, practice: The more practice questions you review beforehand, the more times you rehearse in front of the mirror, and the more thought you give to your prepared responses, the better impression you will make. By practising you can be sure of being prompt and confident with your responses, and you won’t have to risk becoming flustered or nervous when asked those tricky questions, like ‘What is your worst quality?’
  • Ask questions: Show that you’re interested in the company and the working environment, and get to know the interviewer. A successful interview should be a conversation, not an inquisition.
  • Research the company ahead of time: This will help you understand what they are looking for in an ideal candidate and will show them that you are proactive about becoming a part of their company.
  • Don’t ramble: keep your answers relevant and to the point.
  • Project confidence sit up straight in your chair, don’t fidget, and speak clearly and directly.
  • Be sure to send a follow-up email thanking your potential boss for the opportunity and saying that it was nice to meet them

EDUC8 ENGLAND COO JUDE HOLLOWAY SAYS:

“Get your online image into shape! Social media can be a great way to make professional connections, but it can also dissuade employers from considering your application if you aren’t careful—remember that most potential employers check out their applicants online before hiring. So clear your online profiles of unprofessional photos and content before you start reaching out to anyone who you hope might become your employer. Also don’t forget to set-up a professional, and appropriate, email address for your job applications.”

What are the key differences between apprenticeships and college courses?

College courses may carry UCAS points (important if you hope to go to university) whilst apprenticeships do not. Apprenticeships must be paid at the National Minimum Wage for apprentices and include legal working conditions such as a contract of employment, statutory sick pay, insurance, paid holidays etc. Until you are 18 or over, after you have left full-time education, you cannot be employed in a workplace WITHOUT an apprenticeship. If you are offered a position ‘on trial’ for more than a day or two this would be in breach of employment and education legislation as you must remain in education or training (ie college or apprenticeship) until the age of 18.

What do parents need to know about apprenticeships?

Whether your child has succeeded in school or college or not, an apprenticeship is a great way for young people of all abilities to get onto the career ladder whilst continuing their learning and development. An  apprenticeship will allow your child to gain experience and skills relating to the world of work, earn a salary and gain a nationally recognised  qualification—all without having to pay any fees/get into debt. Furthermore, evidence shows that individuals with an Apprenticeship are more likely to gain promotion in their place of work.

EDUC8 TOP TIP FOR PARENTS: Companies commonly offer unpaid placements or work experience, so if you’re child is looking to earn while you learn make sure you clarify this before your child starts!

What’s next?

If you think an apprenticeship is the right step you for you then contact us and we can help find you a suitable job! Still not sure if an apprenticeship is for you? Why not have a look at our ‘Vacancies’ online and see if anything looks of interest to you.

Why choose Educ8?

As a leading ‘Apprenticeship Training Provider’—and with over 15 years experience of delivering successful apprenticeship programmes—Educ8 places a huge emphasis on employing high-quality, industry-experienced staff to help guide students through their apprenticeships. These  programmes are developed with a focus on providing industryled skills and experience. With an in-depth understanding of the sector’s training and apprenticeship requirements, our highly experienced team of  trainers/coaches deliver a comprehensive range of apprenticeships that run from level 2 through to Level 5. Educ8 Training understand that every apprentice and employer is different and have varying requirements; Educ8 work with you to ensure the most appropriate training solutions are delivered.

Email us at educ8england@educ8training.co.uk for a free downloadable PDF of ‘Apprenticeships: A Guide for Students’