I need help to apply for apprenticeships

How do I apply for an apprenticeship?

If you’re interested in applying for an apprenticeship, you probably have lots of questions you’d like answering to get a feel for whether it’s right for you.

Here are some answers to those questions, with information on how Inspira can help you with your applications.

What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a government funded work-based training programme – you gain hands on experience, a salary and the opportunity to gain qualifications while you work. You could even end up with a degree.

There are lots of different kinds of apprenticeship to choose from, all within reputable companies. These can range from SMEs to large corporates and can be in many different sectors and industries including IT, engineering, design, energy, catering, healthcare, sport, nuclear, marketing and construction.

You also get time for training and study which is usually about 20% of your working hours and you can start if you are 16 or over and not in full-time education.

Apprenticeships are not just for 16-24-year olds. There is no upper age limit, so if you’re looking to start something new, we can help with all the different aspects of adult apprenticeships.

Watch our video to see whether an apprenticeship could be right for you.

What qualifications do I need to do an apprenticeship?

To start an entry level, otherwise known as an intermediate apprenticeship, you don’t necessarily need any prior qualifications. It will be important though to demonstrate other skills such as IT literacy, communication and your enthusiasm to learn.

How long does an apprenticeship last?

An apprenticeship takes between one and five years to complete, depending upon the level of apprenticeship and the industry sector.

What types of apprenticeship are there?

There are essentially four different levels of apprenticeship:

  • Intermediate or entry level – this is a great starting point for anyone 16 or over wanting to learn some basic skills. They usually last one or two years and will give you an equivalent NVQ level 2/BTEC.
  • Advanced – the next step up, an advanced level apprenticeship will give you an equivalent NVQ level 3 or 2 A level passes. You’ll usually need five passes at GCSE for these.
  • Higher – this gives you the chance to gain a higher-level foundation degree qualification or NVQ level 4. You’ll need five GCSEs and the equivalent of two A levels to do this, so it is aimed at over 18s.
  • Degree apprenticeship – this level gives you an undergraduate degree level qualification once completed and even better you’ll have all the skills-based learning as well.

Adult apprenticeships

There is no age limit to joining an apprenticeship scheme. If you are living in England and are not already in full-time education and have the desire to learn new on the job skills, then an adult apprenticeship could be a great option for you.

Find out more here including information on the Advanced Learner Loan.

One of the strategic drivers in Cumbria is to improve employability skills. With the growing number of over 50s staying in employment, there is the real potential to fill some of the region's skills gaps. Apprenticeships are therefore a great option for adults wanting to upskill.

Read our blog about changing careers in your 50s.

Do you get a job at the end of your apprenticeship?

According to the latest stats from the Department for Business, Innovation, and Skills, 90% of apprentices are offered permanent employment either during their apprenticeship or upon successful completion.

If you’re happy to accept a job, then great but the choice is yours and you could decide to find a job elsewhere. The experience you have gained during your apprenticeship will be invaluable to have on your CV and should give you the confidence to go and find your ideal role.

How much will I earn on an apprenticeship?

All apprenticeships are real jobs, so you will earn a salary. The current minimum wage if you are 16-18 or 19 or over and in your first year as an apprentice is £4.15 an hour (May 2021). All other apprentices should be paid the national minimum wage.

Earn while you learn in an apprenticeship

What are the benefits of doing an apprenticeship?

Apprenticeship training programmes are specifically tailored to ensure you develop the skills employers want. This means that apprentices not only have better long-term salary prospects, but they also have excellent progression opportunities.

You learn at a pace that suits you with support from a mentor.

You’ll get:

  • Practical and technical skills
  • Soft skills and people skills (otherwise known as employability skills) such as how to work as part of a team and time management skills
  • A salary and holiday pay
  • Training for a specific job role.

What’s it like being an apprentice?

Watch our video to discover what it’s like being an apprentice.

Five tips on how to apply for an apprenticeship?

  1. Research

Start by doing some research to see whether there are apprenticeships available in the area of work you’re interested in. You can do this via this government website or alternatively have a look on company websites if you have a specific employer in mind. We can also help you with this.

  1. Figure out what makes you stand out

Try and figure out the personal qualities that make you unique or make you stand out from the crowd. You’ll find that there is a lot of competition for apprenticeship places, so you’ll need to try and make your application stand out.

  1. Write a tailored application

Ensure your application is well written, error free and tailored to each job opportunity. Ask someone else to read it before sending it in to check it reads well.

  1. Match your skills with the spec of the role

It’s important to include all your relevant skills, gained from education, work or your hobbies and make sure you match them up with what the employer is looking for. It’s a good idea to list out all the qualities they’re asking for so you can refer to them as you’re writing your application.

  1. Show your evidence

You’ll need to show evidence of your employability skills such as teamwork, time management, digital skills, knowledge of the sector etc so think of some examples from your own experience to show you’re a good fit for their organisation.

Help is at hand

Our professional advisers have helped hundreds of people apply for apprenticeships in Cumbria and Lancashire (Blackpool, Morecambe, Preston, Fleetwood, Lytham, Leyland).

Together we will work with you to determine your career ambitions and help you to identify the skills, strengths and experience your target employers will be looking for.

Our free advice service will help you:

  • Register for the Find An Apprenticeship Service
  • Explain the different levels of apprenticeships and how they work
  • Identify local opportunities suited to you
  • Help you understand your current skills and strengths
  • Help you to develop the skills employers want
  • Open doors to useful volunteering and work experience opportunities to enable you to add new experience to your CV
  • Help you to write a winning application
  • Help you to practice interview questions and techniques

Watch our video to hear careers advisers, Chris Darrall and Louise Latta speak about how apprenticeships work and what you need to know when applying for one.

We’d be delighted to have a chat with you

  • Pick up the phone and talk to one of our careers advisers to see how they can help you 0345 658 8647 or
  • Fill out our form if you’d rather communicate by email and tell us a bit about your situation and if there’s something in particular you would like help with.
  • You can also get in touch via Facebook.