The Apprenticeship Insider: Getting the right one
In light of National Apprenticeship Week earlier this month, we want to recap! We ask Khadijah from our MyKindaFuture Universities Team who has previous experience in apprenticeship recruitment on her top tips for those who want to explore the path a little more...
Khadijah Pandor, Bright Futures Societies Manager
Khadijah! Before joining MyKindaFuture, you gained experience in the recruitment field of Apprenticeships. Can you tell us more about this previous role?
For two years I worked for an Apprenticeship Training Provider. My role was to engage students aged 16-23 on why an apprenticeship was a viable route for them post-education. This involved working with schools and other education providers, running sessions on what an apprenticeship is, and advertising opportunities.
In dealing with potential apprentices, I was interviewing students and supporting with their employability skills to ensure they were successful in securing an apprenticeship role. During their apprenticeship I was also on hand to provide any pastoral care required.
I also worked with various employers, promoting to them the value of hiring an apprentice, how this is a growing strategy in recruiting young people, and the potential for an apprentice to offer support and be an asset to their company.
From working with these employers, what did you find were the common things companies look for in their apprentices?
It is important to remember that employers are looking for apprentices to mold into and fit their organization; they are not looking for the finished article. From my experience, employers are looking for students to have an interest in the area they are applying to, the drive and motivation to learn, and the ambition to grow and start their career.
When recruiting apprentices, as a minimum I was looking for Grade 5 and above for English and Maths. Some employers may also ask for specific A-Level grades, my suggestions would be to research the organization and apprenticeship you are interested in to find out more.
What did you find were common mistakes made by apprentices, who perhaps had little experience of working life?
Common mistakes made by apprentices vary, but the one I noticed the most was the myth that by choosing the apprenticeship path you never have to sit in a classroom again! An apprenticeship is combining on-the-job experience with learning – not every apprenticeship will have you sit in a physical classroom, but you will be expected to complete work and learn, just like you would in school. The further you progress the more learning you will be required to complete, both at work and home – so don’t go into it thinking you are done with learning or assignments!
Getting used to a ‘normal’ working day can be daunting at first, but you need to remember you will fall into a routine, just like your experienced colleagues – so bear with it.
A final tip is to remember is make sure you are dressed for your work day – no jeans, trainers, or inappropriate clothes. You are there to work, and make sure you look the part throughout.
From your experience, what can you suggest a young person can expect from an apprenticeship?
What can you expect from an apprenticeship? You will get the support and pastoral care from day 1, if not before to make you feel really supported. You will be made to feel part of the team, and you will receive the training required to excel in your role.
An apprenticeship is a way to start your career, with a support mechanism. It is a valuable route post-education (GCSE or A-Level), where you will flourish into a valuable employee for an organization. What to expect varies on which apprenticeship standard is chosen and at which level, but in general an apprentice will get the best both of worlds, a qualification and on-the-job training – and this can offer a competitive edge and expertise like no other.
An apprenticeship is not to be underestimated, and the early careers landscape for young people is headed in the direction of an apprenticeship-driven future, swerving away from the typical university paths.
How can you find the right apprenticeship for you?
Interested in apprenticeships and want to find out more? Here are my top tips:
1. Look at the government website (https://www.gov.uk/apply-apprenticeship) and create an account. There will be an option to set up alerts for apprenticeships that are within your areas of interest.
2. Speak to your teachers or careers advisors and see if employers are coming to your school / college and if so, attend their sessions. Don’t worry if the employer is not someone you want to work for, use the sessions to find out more from an employer’s perspective!
3. Attend Careers Fairs or Open Days at your local college or school and speak to the employers that are there – find out what opportunities are out there and get connected with companies you want to work for!
4. Follow the employers you are interested in on their social media channels - they will normally post information about their apprenticeship opportunities, like when applications open, or blog articles from current apprentices on their experience.
5. Follow MyKindaFuture! We work with a range of leading apprenticeship employers and may have the opportunity for you.
Check out our current apprenticeship opportunities here. Remember to keep an eye on our page to see new opportunities pop up!