This little guide will help you to make best use of the official Find an Apprenticeship service.

There are two different ways to search.  You can put a keyword in or you can browse.


It may not be obvious but if you leave the optional keyword box empty then you will get a list of all types of apprenticeship within a certain distance from your home address.

With the browse option,  you select a category of jobs, like ‘Business, Administration and Law’ or ‘Construction, Planning and the Built Environment’.  Notice that when you get the search results back you will be able to tweak the categories and narrow the results down by choosing one or more sub-categories.

You can then click on any of the results to read more about them.

Notice that there are green “sign in to apply” buttons at the top and bottom of each vacancy.

 

Click on these and you’ll be taken to a “sign in” page.

This is where you get to create an account as a new user.  Notice that once you have created your account you sign in using your email address and password.

 

Clicking on “create an account” takes you to a page where you give your contact details and choose a password.  Then you move on to an “about you”  page which is similar to your CV.  There are five sections to complete:
  1. What are your main strengths?
  2. What skills would you like to improve during this apprenticeship?
  3. What are your hobbies and interests?
  4. Why have you applied for this particular role?
  5. How will you travel to work and the training centre?

Keep in mind when you’re filling these boxes in that this is what your possible future employer will be reading.  It’s exactly the same as sending them your CV.  So it needs to be right.

Just like with your CV,  try to avoid the words and phrases that everyone else uses on their applications – like  ‘good team player’, for example. Employers read a lot of applications and you’re trying to  stand out from the crowd, not blend in with it.

Again, Just like with your CV,  remember how important it is to match your words to the apprenticeship you’re applying for.  Read through the details carefully and make a note of the key aspects of the job.  Then use your notes as the basis for what you say in these boxes.

About you – what are your main strengths?

This section is one of the most important parts of the online application form.  Spend some time and effort making this read well and it will help get you selected for an interview.

In this limited space you’ve got to explain who you are, which strengths you can bring to the employer, and why you want the apprenticeship you’re applying for. It’s got to be punchy, easy to read, and make the employer want to read more.  If necessary, get someone who knows you well to make suggestions and always ask someone relable to check for grammar and spelling errors.

Important tip:  don’t just state what your strengths are – give examples.  Like this:

‘I feel I have very good communication skills. As a keen member of a local football team, it’s crucial we communicate constantly on the pitch to ensure everyone works together to try to win. I have been praised by the team captain for the way I communicate effectively, saying I am calm, motivating and fair.’

About you – what skills would you like to improve?

In this section you only need to write a sentence or two that get across your awareness of what the job is about.  For example, if you were going for a job in the IT industry you could say something like this:

‘I would like to improve my knowledge and awareness of the latest programming techniques being used in the workplace to increase efficiency and decrease costs to the employer.’

Or, if you were going for a job in hairdressing you could say something like this:

‘I would like to improve my knowledge of the latest cutting and colouring techniques being used within the fashion industry and how these could be adapted to suit high street fashion trends.’

About you – What are your hobbies and interests?

Many people struggle to find something appropriate to put in this section.  It isn’t a good idea to put down things that everyone does or that don’t sound very interesting or impressive – like “watching TV” or “going out with my friends”.

Try to choose things that show a different side to your personality than your job skills.
Also remember that the employer may use this section to ‘break the ice’ and make you feel more comfortable in your interview. They might start by asking you something like ‘I notice from your application form that you’re interested in films. What was the last film that you saw and what did you like about it?’

And remember …..

Put yourself in the employer’s shoes and think about what they would want from an apprentice. They will want someone who they can rely on and that works hard. They will want someone who’s eager to learn, picks things up quickly and gets on well with people. Try to include examples of when you’ve shown these qualities in your application.