How to help your child apply for an apprenticeship – the application process

Updated: Sep 14

The application process for an apprenticeship is very similar to applying for a conventional job and, with the exception of degree apprenticeships, opportunities can arise at any time of the year. Your child will need a CV, to be able to complete an application form, be interview ready and may need to complete aptitude tests. Plenty of practise is a good way to prepare.

Timelines

Unlike university application where there is a fixed process that takes place at the same time each year, applications for apprenticeships come up throughout the year. This might feel disconcerting if your child’s peers have all made their sixth form or university applications and even received offers, whereas your child has yet to secure an apprenticeship, but the system is different because apprenticeships are tied to genuine jobs. For degree apprenticeships, most companies have set applications windows i.e. January application for September intake.


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Application process

The application process is much more closely aligned to job applications than university applications. The longer the apprenticeship, the more rigorous the application process is likely to be. It differs between organisations and may include:

  • Online application form – may also require a Curriculum Vitae (“CV”);

  • Online competency tests (logic, personality assessments, verbal reasoning maths, english.);

  • Video response (usually this takes the format of your child answering questions that appear on screen, rather than a two-way video interview);

  • An assessment day, which may include group activity as well as individual interviews.

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The application form - applying for an apprenticeship

The application form

It’s always best to look through the application online, and then write answers in Word (or elsewhere), prepare and spell check them thoroughly, before copying and pasting into the online form. This avoids risking a computer crash and losing the work, gives thinking time and allows comparisons between different questions so that answers are not repeated. Answers will be different depending on the apprenticeship. Preparation for one apprenticeship will not be sufficient for application to another (although it may form a good basis). Applications should be tailored according to the specification outlined in the advert and your child must check the company website for any specific advice and tips offered. Giving examples is a key differentiator in applications. Make sure your child always gives examples to support their statements and does not make unsubstantiated assertions such as “I am a great team leader” and “I am a good communicator” without showing why they hold this opinion.

Writing a CV

A CV is a brief synopsis of experience and qualifications. Whilst it should reflect the personal style of the person it describes, all CVs should include:

  • Personal information, including address and contact details;

  • Education and Qualifications;

  • Professional and voluntary experience with the most recent job first;

  • Skills, strengths and achievements – including a full clean driving licence if they have one;

  • CVs should not exceed two sides of A4;

  • Check for spelling mistakes!

  • Use a professional font which is easy to read.

Where possible, your child should include a covering letter along with their CV. CVs are generic whereas a covering letter gives them an opportunity to specify why this particular apprenticeship appeals to them and what qualities they have that make them a good match. Make sure they read the job description carefully and use the letter to illustrate how their skills match up to what has been requested.


Teenage girl writing CV for apprenticeship application: The Parents' Guide to