Apprenticeships are offered by a wide range of employers and you’ll find them advertised on the Government’s official Find an Apprenticeship website, other sites and sometimes in local newspapers and through local colleges and training providers. Finding an apprenticeship can be a slightly confusing business until you get familiar with the different search techniques. This article will provide you with all the necessary tips and tricks to make tracking down that elusive apprenticeship a much more enjoyable experience!
Finding an Apprenticeship online
The National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) look after apprenticeships in England. Their site is a good place to visit for general information and you can use their helpline for support and general advice.
Up to the end of 2014 the site was also the main place to go to search for current apprenticeship vacancies. From now on the site is closed to new users who have not previously registered with it. New users are being re-directed to a replacement online search system called the Find an Apprenticeship service located on the main government (.GOV) website. Like the old service this site has a built-in automated application system for people who have registered a user account. However, you should note that for some vacancies users will be asked to make their application directly to the employer or training provider in question.
Important: check out these tips on using the Find an Apprenticeship service!Once you get back a list of results, the vacancy details will spell out things like the salary, expected start date, entry requirements, method of application, qualifications you will be working towards etc.
Remember that your application needs to represent you as well as possible, so use a spell checker and make sure your grammar and punctuation are accurate.
You can call the NAS helpline for support about anything to do with apprenticeships including using the Find an Apprenticeship service. An advisor will also be able to give you general advice on applications and how to put yourself forward in the best light. The call is free and could lead to your future career:
0800 0150400 (free call)
Lines are open Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm
Other places to search
1. Large Employers: If there is a large company based in your local area they may well have a regular supply of apprenticeship vacancies. Public sector organisations such as local councils and health authorities tend to be keen on apprenticeships too. You might find the perfect opportunity right on your doorstep so go to their web site to see what’s on offer.
2. NGtU: You can also search for vacancies and apply online on the notgoingtouni site.3 FindApprenticeships.co.uk: An easy to use search site that brings together vacancies advertised on other sites.
4. your local ’14 – 19 Prospectus’: You can access it by searching here.
5. UCAS Progress: The search facility of this site allows you to put in the name of your town. This will bring back apprenticeship training providers as well as colleges in the results. Some local 14-19 Prospectus sites (there is a separate one in each local authority area) actually link to UCAS Progress.
6. Job Boards: You may also like to try searching on the big job vacancy sites. Examples of such sites (sometimes referred to as ‘job boards’) include:
Don’t attempt to use all of these! Pick a couple that you like the look and feel of and bear in mind that some are “meta search engines” which just means that they pull together vacancies listed on other sites.
Tip: try entering “apprentice” in the ‘job title’ box and your nearest town or city in the ‘location’ box.
Some of these will allow you to upload your CV so that employers can search for you. You can also set up email alerts to your inbox when they have vacancies that match your chosen criteria such as location, job category or keywords.
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If you live in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland
Apprenticeships in Scotland
Use the Skills Development Scotland website to learn about applying for a modern apprenticeship in Scotland. Using the term “Modern Apprenticeship” in the site’s “job search” tool filters the results to specific apprenticeship opportunities. Once you’ve found an opportunity you’re interested in, apply direct by sending your CV and a covering letter. Apprenticeships in Scotland and MappIT are other places to search along with the job vacancy sites mentioned above.
Apprenticeships in Wales
Search for apprenticeships in Wales via the Careers Wales website.
You can search for apprenticeships using the site’s apprentice matching service search engine. Some companies accept applications via Careers Wales, but other companies will only consider people who apply directly to them, so read the adverts carefully and ensure you apply in the correct way.
Apprenticeships in Northern Ireland
Look for apprenticeship opportunities in Northern Ireland in the same way that you would search for a job.
contact your local Jobs and Benefits Office/JobCentre
search JobCentre Online NI
look for vacancies on employer websites
call employers yourself – you should make them aware that you want to start an apprenticeship under the ApprenticeshipsNI programme
contact your local training suppliers who may be aware of vacancies
Once you are in employment and agreed with your employer that you can become an apprentice, simply contact your local ApprenticeshipsNI training supplier who will check your eligibility and can register you on the programme. Your training supplier will then meet with you and your employer to discuss your apprenticeship and training needs. They will develop and agree a training plan with you both.
Finding an Apprenticeship through a learning provider
Many local providers such as colleges and training companies will also advertise apprenticeship vacancies on their websites. To search for a provider by the sector you are interested in you could use the Find an Apprenticeship Training Organisation tool.
NB: You will also get information about providers on the 14-19 Prospectus and UCAS Forward sites mentioned above.
Talk to a Careers Adviser
If there is a careers adviser who comes into your child’s school they should ask for a meeting with the adviser to discuss all the possible options in your local area. If not, suggest a visit to your local Job Centre. They can help you look for jobs and apprenticeships by showing you the vacancies for the type of work that interests you. They will also help you build your CV and offer interview skills advice. If your child is 19 or older they can also arrange to see a careers adviser via the Job Centre. Don’t forget that the vacancies listed on the computer consoles in the Job Centre can also be found on the Gov website.
They can also do their own research into local firms they might want to work for and look on their web site (if they have one) and send them an email enquiry or ring them up.
They could also ask an employer advertising a vacancy if they would be prepared to convert this into an apprenticeship. If so, they should contact a local college or training provider (see above) who will do the rest.
Try ‘googling’ your home town combined with phrases such as “IT firm” or “construction company” or whatever to see if pages from “news” sites come back in search results. Note that if you want a search engine to search for a specific phrase (as opposed to just a bunch of words) you need to put inverted commas around the phrase in the search box.
If they found the apprenticeship through the Find an Apprenticeship site they may be able to apply direct online. Each vacancy explains how to apply.
If they found the apprenticeship through the search tool at notgoingtouni.co.uk they can apply on the site provided they have set up a user account. This is very quick and easy to do.
If they found the vacancy themselves, they’ll need to contact the employer to find out how to apply. Before they contact them, it’s a good idea to check the company’s website as answers to the most common questions might be there. Remind them that they’ll be contacting the company as a potential employee so they need to act professionally – first impressions are important.
So there is no one standard system. Vacancies will all have different methods of application — some will be online, others may involve telephone interviews or an application form. Some large companies operate a special online application process through a link on their web site. With these you only make contact with an actual human being if you make it through the initial “sifting” stage!
Find out more…
You can find out more from the parent’s guide to apprenticeships factsheet. Your daughter/son can ask a careers adviser who comes into their school or speak to a careers adviser from the National Careers Service on 0800 100 900. The National Careers Service also offer webchat, texts and other means of getting in touch as listed on their Contact an Adviser webpage for young people.
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Designed for professionals, the Career Alchemy blog mixes news, career trends and philosophy with "how to" advice to help you achieve happiness and success in your working life, no matter how much the world of work is changing.