Tips for applying to an apprenticeship


So you want to apply for an apprenticeship; whether you have recently left school or want a career change there are ways that you can boost your chances of getting your dream job. A great application is key to getting noticed by employers and I’m here to show you how with some simple tips to get you on your way.

1.Where and how to apply for apprenticeships

The most common place to apply for apprenticeships are on the find an apprenticeship website. Here there will be listed many of the current vacancies. Not seeing something you’re looking for? You can always give us a call or email to ask about apprenticeships and we can help you find something. Also, you should regularly check our apprenticeship vacancies page to keep updated with what we are currently advertising.

If you have a specific business or industry in mind that is not listed online, then don’t be afraid to email the company with your CV and speculative letter. This can result in employment! Please find a link to download a template speculative letter for you to complete with your details to send off to employers.

2. Writing about yourself

Sometimes this can be the most difficult aspect of the application process, but you can make it easier for yourself by using the job description as a guide to help your answers. It is important to pay attention to the skills that are necessary and relevant to the position and include them in your answers if you have them.

For example, a typical business administration apprenticeship looks for candidates who have great communication skills, knowledge of IT or the Microsoft Suite and who are organised. Think about times when you have demonstrated these skills either at school, through work experience or even in your hobbies and give an example – this is very important for making your application stand out. Of course, you should not lie on your CV and say you have these skills if you don’t believe you have, but there are many skills which are needed for these roles and you do likely have some. Your written response could look something like this:

Q: What are your main strengths?

A: My main strength is my communication skills; through my previous work experience at my local café, I am able to remain professional, speak clearly and listen to my colleagues and clients to problem solve, find solutions and give excellent customer service. Whilst at school I had to do presentations which I always received great feedback for. I also have a good knowledge of IT. In my spare time I enjoy using the computer, whilst at school I took IT lessons and received a grade 4 and I learnt how to use Microsoft Excel and how to create websites on WordPress. I am very reliable and always arrive on time and complete tasks that are given to me.

Remember – experience is not everything, and as long as you show a willingness to learn and a passion for the industry, you are in with a great chance!

3. CV Tips

When applying through the find an apprenticeship website you don’t upload a CV, but a way to get yourself noticed if you are applying this way is to send your CV to the contact details which will be listed on the post. Here are some things to remember when writing your CV:

  • Keep it simple: do not use a colourful template created on a website like canva unless you are going for a job in a creative industry, instead choose a basic format and do not upload a picture of yourself.
  • Make a list of your skills
  • Give a brief personal statement at the top of the page
  • Start with your most recent education/experience and continue chronologically

Download this CV template to help you create your own.

4. Education and Experience

Sometimes you may not have the necessary qualifications or experience that are listed in the job description, but this does not mean you shouldn’t apply – still apply! Even if a business requests that you have a grade 4/C in English and Maths and you don’t have it yet, apply anyway, because whilst on your apprenticeship you are able to enrol on functional skills to gain your level 2 certificate. You are also able to enrol on a free functional skills course in preparation for your apprenticeship; to find out more on how to do this, follow the link.

5. Interviews

Interviews are the most important part of securing your apprenticeship, as it gives you the chance to show off your passion and skills to the employer.

First of all, when an employer reaches out to offer you an interview, it is necessary to reply and confirm your attendance.

Secondly, It is very important that you dress formally so you give a good impression: for example, wearing a shirt and trousers, or a skirt and blouse. Make sure you take care of your appearance and you are demonstrating a good level of hygiene.

And of course, responding to interview questions can be challenging, therefore you should get some practice before you go to the interview so you are prepared. You can do this by looking at some typical questions for the industry you are interested in, for example, this web page shows 50 of the most common questions asked in interviews – take a look and write out your answers and practice them with a friend or family member. It may also be a good idea to search for something like “common interview questions for nursery interviews, customer service roles, administrative positions etc…” for more specific questions related to your industry of interest.

If you need help preparing for an interview, you are welcome to contact us at Achievement Training for advice and practice.

6. Some helpful links to help you write your CV and prepare for your interview:

9 Apprentice Interview Questions and Example Answers

10 Effective Words To Use in an Interview

What words should I use on my CV?

What you need to know about being an apprentice

If you need any support or advice about anything here or questions regarding apprenticeships please get in touch by phone or email: or 01752 202269