One of the best ways of securing a job you know you'll love is to find an apprenticeship. But with so many out there, that's often easier said than done. On this page, we list four steps which can help you narrow down the options.
You can learn all about the benefits of doing an apprenticeship on our dedicated page. But in brief, you'll be working side-by-side with experienced staff to gain useful job skills, earning a wage, and studying towards a qualification.
'Think an apprenticeship could be for you but don't know where to start? Check out these 6 ways to find an apprenticeship'
So here are our top tips to help you find an apprenticeship.
If you prefer your careers advice in animated form, check out this nifty vid before reading on for those all-important details:
1. Search on local authority websites
All local councils advertise their latest job vacancies on their websites and that includes apprenticeship opportunities.
If you’re just starting out on your apprenticeship search, then your local council’s website is the best place to start. It’s also a good idea to keep checking their website every week, as new jobs tend to be added weekly. You might be able to set up alerts in case you forget to check.
One of the main benefits of applying for an apprenticeship through a local council is that the application process is designed in a way that all applicants have an equal chance of being invited to interview.
There are two levels of local council: district/city councils which deal with local affairs, and county councils which are responsible for the wider region. Both could offer apprenticeships, so make sure you know who they are - you can use this site to find out.
2. Set up an account on the National Apprenticeship Service website
The National Apprenticeship Service is run by the government and their website lets you search for apprenticeships in England. You can put in your postcode and search by region, or select the area of work you want to go into, to see what's on offer.
If you want, you can create an account and apply for apprenticeships directly through the website. It's a really useful system as it brings everything together in one place, but it's a bit tricky to use sometimes so make sure you play around with the setting so you don't miss out on what you're looking for.
This video helps you understand it and offers some useful pointers on applying for apprenticeships, however you choose to do it:
3. Take the Initiative and Send a CV Even if the Job isn't Advertised
The next best thing to applying for advertised apprenticeships is to send your CV, with a cover letter, to a company that you’d like to work for in the hope that they may have a position available. Often, smaller companies don’t advertise their apprenticeships and rely on word of mouth referrals from friends, families and co-workers.
If your CV lands on someone’s desk at the right time, you could be in luck. Alternatively, a company may want to keep your CV on record for future opportunities, should any apprenticeships open up further down the line.
Needless to say, your CV should contain all your contact information and you should follow up your application by telephone if you don’t hear back within two weeks.
To find relevant employers, search Google for your local area plus the field you're interested in, eg "engineering companies in stoke on trent". Try to find a recruitment or HR contact on the companies' sites. If you can't, give them a ring and ask for the name and direct email address of the most appropriate contact - you might just get lucky!
4. Talk to your school's careers adviser
If you’re still studying at secondary school, then speaking with your careers adviser is a smart move. Careers advisers work closely with local companies and are often able to recommend students directly for positions.
They might also be able to give you the inside scoop on companies who are actively seeking apprentices in your chosen industry and in any case, they should be able to provide you with a list of resources for you to explore further.
5. Search for apprenticeships on student careers websites
Student careers websites like Success at School often work closely with partner employers, over a variety of different industries. Here at Success at School, we also post apprenticeship opportunities on our jobs board, which is well worth checking out.
Here are some of the apprenticeships and training programmes we're advertising at the moment:
- PwC: Learn how to help companies run their businesses smoothly in a whole host of ways, while getting paid.
- Investment2020: If you're looking for a career in finance, Investment2020 gets you into paid training programmes with big names like JP Morgan, and you don't need to be a maths whiz to join up.
- British Army: Whatever your skills, there's bound to be an apprenticeship for you. Learn how to fix tanks or stop a cyber attack while travelling the world – all while getting paid.
- Nestlé: There are loads of opportunities for you to become the next Willy Wonka, from inventing new flavours to working magic in the factory.
Whatever route you go down, we've got loads of resources to help you succeed with your application. Here are a few to get you started: