15 Top Tips for Becoming a Modern Apprentice

Posted: 24th of October 2018 by kris@notgoingtouni.co.uk

Apprenticeships are a great option for many: you can learn skills and get experience, all while being paid!  Apprenticeships usually run for between one and three years, during which time you are able to combine work and study in order to secure a qualification in your field.


1) Research Different Types of Apprenticeships

When people think of apprenticeships they usually consider manual trades, such as construction, carpentry and electrical. Although there are still great apprenticeships available in these areas, modern apprenticeships also cover a large range of sectors including IT, finance, teaching, engineering, customer service, hospitality and much more. So the first place to start is narrow down the type of apprenticeship you want to do.

Need some inspiration? You can search thousands of opportunities for current apprenticeships here

​​​​​2) Understand the Different Levels of Apprenticeship

Apprenticeships are actually separated into four distinct levels: intermediate, advanced, higher and degree. An intermediate level apprenticeship is equivalent to the GSCE, whereas an advanced level apprenticeship is equivalent to an A level.

Check the UK Government’s site for more details on the different levels of apprenticeships and their equivalent education level.

3) Check The Requirements

The next step is to work out the requirements for the apprenticeship you want to do. Be sure to carefully read all requirements and prerequisites to make sure you are eligible to apply.

Generally, you will need to be at least 16 years old, and not in full-time education in order to apply for an apprenticeship. Many apprenticeships do not require you to have completed school, however, each has its own particular requirements.

4) Fully Research The Apprenticeship

Once you have decided on the apprenticeship you want and know that you meet the requirements, it’s time to start putting together your application.

First, make sure to thoroughly research the opportunity: what does the role involve? What skills and experience are they looking for? What will you get out of the role? This will not only help you to put in a strong application but also to make sure the role is a good fit for you.

5) Put Together Your Application

This stage is critical, so make sure you put the proper time and effort into putting together a strong application. Prepare a professional, well-written application as per the posting’s requirements. Be sure to cover all the skills and experience mentioned in the opportunity posting, and communicate how you meet the requirements.

Most importantly, sell yourself! Tell them why they should hire you.

6) Check And Check Again

Once you have completed your application, be sure to proofread it to check for errors. Then check it again. Have a friend or family member check it also. This is your chance to make a good first impression to your potential new employer so you want to make sure it is perfect!

7) Don’t Limit Yourself To One Application

Even if you identify the perfect opportunity for you, don’t feel you need to limit yourself to just one application. There are many different apprenticeships out there, so have a look around to see what else might interest you. Putting in multiple applications gives you a better chance of being successful.

8) Prepare For The Interview

Once you make it to the next round, the work doesn’t stop there! Prepare for the interview well by reading over the job description and any other materials relating to the position, as well as researching the company more generally. It is important to go into the interview with a good understanding of the organisation and what they do. If you haven’t done many (or any) interviews before, prepare answers to likely questions and ask a friend or family member to practice with you.

9) Follow up

What you do afterwards is almost as important as what you do during the interview. Even if you ace the interview, there may be other strong candidates who do the same, so you need to make sure you stand out in order to secure the apprenticeship.

Send a thank you note following the interview (usually the next day). Be sure to ask during the interview when you can expect to hear back about the result. If you don’t hear back during this time frame, follow up – this shows you are driven and proactive!

10) Come To Work With The Right Attitude

Once you secure your internship, make sure you make the most of it! Approach your apprenticeship with a positive attitude. Most of all, remember you are there to learn – be open to learning as much as possible in every way possible: from your boss, from your colleagues and through formal training. Ask questions – you will never learn everything you need to know if you don’t ask!


11) Training courses

Along with on-the-job training from your employer, as an apprentice, you will also need formal apprenticeship training from a registered institution.

Apprenticeship courses cover a range of subjects, from IT sales and financial services to trades such as carpentry, joinery and scaffolding. So whatever your area, you will be sure to be able to find a suitable course.

12) Be Professional

Being professional at all times is extremely important in any job. As an apprentice and a new member of the team, it is doubly important.

Always be punctual: aim to be 10-15 minutes early for work and any work or study commitments. Dress professionally (in accordance with your workplace’s dress code) at all times, and always be respectful to your colleagues and supervisors.

13) Keep a Balance

An apprenticeship is all about combining work and study. This is great because it means you work toward your qualification while getting on-the-job experience and earning money at the same time. However, it can also mean that you are being pulled into two separate directions, with work and study commitments both calling for your attention.

Make sure to strike a balance between work and study: dedicate the appropriate amount of time for study while maintaining work commitments. If you are struggling, ask your colleagues for advice and support.

14) Build a Network

Networking is important in any work context. Now you are officially part of the workforce, it is time to start building a network of your own. Make an effort to make personal connections with people you meet professionally – this could be your colleagues, clients, suppliers and other apprentices working in your field, whether at the same organisation or elsewhere. You never know when these connections may be useful down the track.

15) Set Goals

Your apprenticeship is the first (or next) step in your career. Take the time to think about your career progression plan. It can be a good idea to map this out as a written plan: including your long-term career goals, shorter goals and milestones, and how your apprenticeship fits into that. Having a plan mapped out will help you keep on track to achieving your goals.

Do you have more questions or concerns about becoming an apprentice? Get further advice at our Advice Centre.

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