2022 is here! Hurray! Here’s hoping the C word doesn’t cause too many challenges for us all this year. We are especially hopeful so that those of you leaving school or college and seeking apprenticeship opportunities are able to do so.
Within this guide, we will cover all the key pieces of information you need to know before applying to apprenticeship opportunities in 2022.
Before you start using job boards to find opportunities, you need to ensure you know what level of apprenticeship you are applying for. It is easy to work out because, much like a game, you have to have successfully completed one level before you can move to the next. Here is an overview:
- Level 2 - Intermediate: the same level as a GCSE or Level 2 functional skills qualification
- Level 3 - Advanced: the same level as A Levels, Level 3 BTec or T Level qualification
- Level 4 / 5 - Higher: equivalent to a HNC (Level 4) or HND (Level 5
- Level 6 / 7 - Degree: the highest level of apprenticeship in the UK, equivalent to a Bachelor's Degree (Level 6) or Master’s Degree (Level 7).
For example, if you are a Year 11 student leaving school having just completed your Level 2 GCSE qualifications, you will need to get a grade 4 or above in enough subjects for the employer to accept you onto a Level 3 apprenticeship programme. If you don’t, you will have to complete a Level 2 apprenticeship first. Once you have successfully completed this, you can then move to a Level 3 programme.
The only exception to this game-like levels system is when you have completed Level 3. At this point, you can apply straight to a Level 6 (degree) apprenticeship programme because the employer and training provider will merge the Level 4 / 5 programme as part of your course.
Knowing the level you are focusing on isn’t enough! You also need to have a good idea of what sector you’d like to work within. You don’t need to know the exact job role or company, but just the overall sector.
For example, knowing you want to work in IT is great but can you pinpoint this a little further by thinking about whether you’d prefer to work within software or hardware? This will help you to find opportunities that meet what you are looking for.
If you’re not sure what you want - that’s ok! But it’s a good idea to research and take part in experiences so you can begin to explore this. Here are some actionable things you can do to work out which sector you’re interested in:
- Complete the Prospects Job Sector Quiz
- Use the Providers pages to look at companies and what opportunities they offer
- Take part in work experience to see if you enjoy the sector(s) you’re considering
Apprenticeship recruitment processes
This element is hard for us to provide advice on, because every employer will have a different recruitment process. Here is a vague guide on what the apprenticeship process may look like, but please bear in mind that this will vary from one employer to another.
Step 1: Online Application - this is where you will provide the employer with information about you, your experience and what you are looking for. They may ask you to upload your CV or answer questions via an online application form. Our top advice here is to ensure that someone else reads over your application before you submit it.
Step 2: Online Assessment - before they take the time to interview you, employers may ask you to complete an online assessment. This helps them to understand your knowledge and skills. This assessment is different for each employer but could include English, Maths or a Psychometric test. They will tell you the format of the assessment when they invite you to take part.
Step 3: Interview - due to Covid-19, this may be online via a video conferencing platform rather than face to face. It could also be a group or a video interview. The format may be a “live” call with the employer, or they may send you a list of questions and ask you to record your answers. This blog by one of our Ambassadors, Euan, will help you to prepare.
Step 4: Offer - Once they have met you (or at least virtually met you!), employers will then decide whether or not to make you an offer. Whether it is a “yes” or “no”, they should provide feedback. If you don’t get offered the job and don’t get any feedback, ask the employer as this will help you to better prepare for future interviews with other employers.
Managing your applications
If you are applying to opportunities on NGTU, you can view all your applications and their status on your account. You can create your account here.
However, you may find that you are applying across different websites. It is a good idea to keep one list of all your applications to keep track of them. You can do this on an Excel Spreadsheet, Word Document or even just a note on your phone!
The key information we would suggest you keep a track of are:
- Name of employer
- Job Title
- Date you applied
- Stage (assessment, interview etc)
- Any notes or actions you need to take for each application
Where to get support
If you need help with setting up your application log or with your applications in general, we would suggest speaking to your careers advisor, a tutor or teacher at school. You may also have family members who can support you with your applications.
In addition to this, you can also head over to our Instagram page where we have weekly lives and takeovers with our ambassadors. You can ask them questions and get their advice on your applications.