Now that you know about the big companies that offer apprenticeships and what they *actually* entail, Mike Thompson, Head of Apprenticeships at Barclays and member of the Government’s Apprenticeship Delivery Board, has shared his tips on how to land one and get your career off to a great start.
1. Do your research
Not just about the company you're applying to or how it may further your career later down the line, but the level of the apprenticeship you're hoping to do, too.
"With so many apprenticeships available from Foundation Apprenticeships to Degree Apprenticeships to now even Masters Apprenticeships, it’s important that you know exactly which suits your current level of education", Mike says. "On top of this it’s also important to think about the career you’re looking for. Many people think that apprenticeships are limited to certain industries, however you can undertake apprenticeships in a diverse range of disciplines, from Agriculture and Animal Care to Media and Publishing."
2. Ace your application
As with everything worth doing, it's going to be a competitive process. You need to show enthusiasm and individuality in your application, as well as the business skills they'll be looking for.
As Mike comments, "The application is the first chance you’ll have to impress a future employer which means it’s vital that you avoid any silly errors. Make sure you’ve checked over your application carefully for spelling and grammar mistakes and that you set aside time to really think about your answers."
3. Showcase your skills
Whether it’s engineering or banking, demonstrate the skills you have that make you a stand-out candidate for the job. Remember, with an apprenticeship as well as studying you’ll also be working, so it’s key that you show an potential employer know why you would be a good fit for the job.
Mike says, "If you’re looking for an arts related apprenticeship start making a portfolio of your work, or if you’re applying for a customer facing apprenticeship, make sure you have examples of when you’ve gone above and beyond to provide outstanding service. Again, as you’re applying for a job as well as well as a place on a course, it’s important to showcase your maturity and willingness to get stuck in.
4. Nail your interview
When you secure an interview (hooray! Well done!), dedicate some time to making sure you flourish and show what you're really made of, and put effort into your preparation.
"It’s crucial to research the company and the role that you’re applying for as well as having a think about the questions they might ask and how you would respond", Mike says. "It’s also always good to prepare some questions yourself to show that you have an interest in the company, and what they do. This can also help you decide whether the apprenticeship is the right one for you and will help you get on the right track for your chosen career."
5. Make it social
As well as making sure there's nothing lurking in the depths of your social media that could come back to bite you, you can use it to your advantage to give people an idea of what you're made of.
Mike says, "Nowadays social media is one of the first places a prospective employer will look to learn more about you and your skills and it’s also another way you can make yourself stand out. Ensure that you have an up to date Linkedin profile, which details your skills and background. It’s also a good idea to upload examples of your previous work or any blog posts or articles you’ve written to give potential employers another sneak peek of what you can do."
6. Start to network
It's no secret that the people you know may well open up opportunities to you that otherwise wouldn't have been, so take full advantage of this by reaching out to likeminded individuals, or people at companies who may be able to help you with your applications.
As Mike advises, "Social media is a prime tool for this. Start to follow the companies you’d like to undertake an apprenticeship with and seek out those in charge of recruitment or who head up the business to connect with or follow. Additionally many companies who offer apprenticeships host information days, which if you’re able to are important to attend. Not only will you be able to make a more informed decision about whether the apprenticeship is right for you, you’ll also be able to chat to other apprentices, hopeful candidates and those in charge of recruitment."
H/T Cosmo UK