Apprenticeships
A guide to researching and applying for a higher apprenticeship

Apprenticeships are an alternative route to a university application that can lead to a degree level qualification as well as paid work and on the job training. If you are a successful apprentice, then it can lead to an offer of employment.

However, apprenticeships are highly competitive, for example there are 10 applicants for every vacancy. Our strong advice is to complete a UCAS application to university as well as an apprenticeship application just in case you are unsuccessful with your apprenticeship application.

Researching

You should research a higher apprenticeship, that is a level 4, 5 or 6 apprenticeship that gives you the equivalent education level of a degree.

https://www.gov.uk/apply-apprenticeship should be your first destination where you should register and begin researching for apprenticeships. This will also link to where you can make your application.

https://www.ucas.com/apprenticeships-in-england is also an excellent website for researching apprenticeships.

You should research the types of apprenticeships that match with your A-Level subjects, your general interests and where your expertise lies. A good idea would be to request a careers interview where you can discuss what you want to do.

Applying

Applications for apprenticeships would not normally take place until approximately March of year 13 because that is when the open dates for a post sixth form entry date start. However, you should begin a draft of an application as soon as possible and that way you simply adapt what you’ve written to fit with the criteria that the apprenticeship requires. If you register with the gov.uk website, then it will notify you if an apprenticeship is recruiting linked to the parameters you’ve inputted into the site e.g. location/type.

You should also write a CV as the apprenticeship might require this as well. There are good CV templates available online.

It is very important that you alter your application to fit the requirements of the apprenticeship. Therefore, studying the company beforehand, for example checking its social media feeds (e.g. Twitter) will give you good ideas to personalise your application. If you just send a generalised application, then they will reject you. All job adverts, including apprenticeships, suggest parameters that they require in an applicant. If you write your application to demonstrate these parameters then it will help make your application successful.

When you have completed the written part of your apprenticeship application you should show what you have written to your tutor as they can check it to make sure that it has good spelling, punctuation and grammar as well as checking that it is a solid application. Mr Allen will also act as a final check on apprenticeship applications so you should show him as well.

You will have to be interviewed and you should be prepared for this. Your research of the company and your thoughts about the types of questions they may ask will help you to be successful in your interview. Mr Allen can offer mock interview practice (time permitting).

Writing your apprenticeship applicaton

These are typical questions asked that you can alter and fit to the specific apprenticeship when you find it. You should adapt your UCAS personal statement to enable you to write this application.

  1. What are your main strengths? (4000 characters)
  • Think about your A-Levels. What aspects of your A-Levels have you been particularly good at? Consider skills as well as content expertise.
  • “Show don’t tell” – demonstrate these strengths by describing a process you’ve been through.
  • Using your research of the apprenticeships you’re interested in try to fit these strengths into the type of apprenticeship you’re applying for.
  1. What skills would you like to improve? (4000 characters)
  • Think about your weaknesses. Explain why there is a weakness. It’s okay to have a weakness, this is about how you have a strong character that is always trying to improve.
  • Try to show how you are already on a journey to improving these weaknesses, this would help to show them that you’re constantly improving.
  1. What are your hobbies and interests? (4000 characters)
  • Describe what you do when you’re not in school. Try to show how these hobbies fit with the aspects that the apprenticeship requires. This again shows the importance of your research.
  • Make your hobbies relevant. You might need to be creative here and think carefully about what you do when not in school.
References

You will be asked to provide contact details for a referee in school. You should always ask permission from the referee before doing this. You should choose your tutor or someone who knows you well in school.

Finally
  • Remember to show your completed application to your tutor and Mr Allen
  • AND you need to think very carefully about an apprenticeship application as they are competitive and you should definitely also apply to university through UCAS. It is our very strong advice that you should not rely JUST on an apprenticeship application.
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