Tonight (Wednesday 14th October) The Apprentice returns for a new series on the BBC. In anticipation of hilarious assignments, heated fall-outs and boardroom faux pas, we would like to take this opportunity to discuss what makes an excellent apprentice in the real world.
What are apprenticeships?
An apprenticeship is a paid traineeship for young people who are not in full-time education but would like to learn a trade while working. Starting working life as a 16 or 18-year old can be a scary thought but an apprenticeship actually offers a great opportunity to transition from the classroom to the workplace with plenty of support.
Why should I do an apprenticeship?
With an economy that is only slowly recovering and rising university tuition fees, many young people consider an apprenticeship to be a valuable alternative to studying full time. Apprentices receive hands-on training, learning by both seeing and doing. They are directly exposed to the industry they want to work in and have a chance to learn the skills required to make it up the job ladder. An additional benefit is the fact that apprentices get paid, receiving a set minimum wage. By completing an apprenticeship, they are also likely to receive a certificate or diploma.
What types of apprenticeships are there?
There are many different types of apprenticeships available in a range of sectors, but the majority of apprenticeships involve learning a trade skill and are offered in manual labour and the creative industries.
Why does a company offer apprenticeships?
Many companies consider an apprenticeship to be an investment for their business. By being offered an apprenticeship position, you’re essentially offered the opportunity of a long-term career. And because apprentices are able to learn new skills, they can fill an existing skills gap within a company.
How do I become an apprentice?
Apprenticeships don’t usually require any previous training, although some companies might expect you to have passed certain GCSE or A levels and basic working requirements, such as being of legal working age, normally apply. Apprenticeships suits young people who are interested in developing a particular skillset or technical knowledge.
How do I find an apprenticeship?
You will have to start by doing research. Once you know the industry you want to work in, you can find out more about the opportunities available in your area. You can look in the newspapers or on websites that are a specialised apprenticeship resource. It can also be worthwhile to directly contact the businesses you know and like to ask about potential apprenticeship programmes. Employers often look for proactive apprentices who showcase technical knowledge, making social media another great tool for candidates to connect with companies looking for apprentices.
How can I improve my application?
Don’t worry, a recruiter or company will know that you won’t have much work experience under your belt. You’re only just getting started, after all. But when writing your CV and cover letter, it helps to focus on those skills and attributes that might make you a good candidate and stand out from the crowd. Do you have any voluntary work experience? This is great to mention, as they show your values and interests. Being enthusiastic and having a positive approach to work won’t go unnoticed either. It really helps to show a passion for the industry, as well as the specific company you are looking to join. Make sure that you explain to the recruiter exactly why you want to take on this apprenticeship and highlight some of your strongest soft skills, such as punctuality and reliability.
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