How to apply for an apprenticeship

4 January 2022

someone applying for an apprenticeship online

An apprenticeship is a perfect way to develop the skills and knowledge required for a specific  job role by gaining first hand experience. By learning in this way, you’re able to be proactive in getting training right from the source, and when it’s finished, you’ll be able to come away with a recognised qualification to broaden your career opportunities.

After you’ve decided on the industry you’re interested in, the qualification you want to gain and the place you want to carry out your apprenticeship, all that’s left is the application process. In this helpful guide, we look at how to sign up for an apprenticeship and provide our top application tips. We also answer other important questions around the process, such as whether there’s a designated time when apprenticeships start and what happens after you’ve completed your apprenticeship.

How to sign up for an apprenticeship

The process of signing up for your apprenticeship is likely to differ based on the provider. However, the majority of government-approved apprenticeship schemes offer the option to navigate the selection of opportunities online, identify one that interests you and apply for it then and there. 

Signing up for an apprenticeship through Simply Academy is just as simple. All you need to do is choose your favoured qualification from the list of options, select a preferred term and pay a deposit. You can then start your application for financing your training online, where you should be given an instant decision. Once you’ve been accepted, you will be sent a confirmation email and your instructions for joining.

Do you need to attach a CV to an apprentice application?

As a rule, yes – you will need to attach an up-to-date CV or resume to your apprenticeship application. Generally speaking, you will also be required to provide an accompanying cover letter to explain in greater detail why you’d be the ideal candidate.

How to write an apprenticeship application

While your CV will include personal details and information regarding your past educational experiences and qualifications, your cover letter will make up the main bulk of your apprenticeship application. It is designed to give you an opportunity to persuade the reader that you are the best candidate for the position. For this reason it is important to use this cover letter not only to list your skills and abilities, but also to explain why you believe these attributes are relevant to the apprenticeship and why you think you will thrive in this role. Check out our top tips below to help you produce the best cover letter possible.

  • Research the company

When you’ve found an apprenticeship that you want to apply for, familiarise yourself with the company itself by conducting some research. The ability to demonstrate a solid understanding of the industry you want to work in and, in particular, your potential employer, can go a long way in a cover letter. 

  • Use a formal yet personal tone of voice

When you’re writing your cover letter, striking a balance between professional and personable is a tough but important skill. We recommend addressing the recipient by name to show them that you are a serious candidate that has taken the time to research the company. It will also help you stand out from the more generic applications that start with ‘Dear Sir/Madam’. 

  • Demonstrate your enthusiasm

Apprenticeships are competitive, so standing out from the crowd is essential. The best way to do this is to write about why you are passionate about a career in this particular field. Talking about relevant past experiences is a great way to do this. If you are truly passionate about a career, your enthusiasm will shine through. 

  • Talk about your qualifications

Whether it’s GCSEs or A-Levels, almost all apprenticeships will require some prior qualifications in order for you to be considered. Hiring managers will be searching for mentions of your qualifications and skills in your cover letter, so it pays to make sure you list all the qualifications, skills and experiences that you believe could be relevant to the role, along with strong justifications as to why you think these attributes will help you succeed in the specific apprenticeship you are applying for. 

  • Sum up

A good cover letter should always have a strong conclusion. After you’ve presented yourself as a suitable and desirable candidate, you should thank the reader for their consideration and state you are looking forward to hearing from them soon. You should then finish the letter with your full name and contact details, including your phone number and email address. 

How long does an apprenticeship application take?

Filling out an apprenticeship application will usually take a few hours. However, if you already have a completed CV, the process will be quicker. In terms of the ongoing process after your application has been submitted, in most cases you will hear back within two to three weeks as to whether you have been successful. If, however, you have not heard back after four weeks, we recommend contacting the company or person dealing with your application and asking when you can expect to hear if you have progressed to the next stage of the process. 

When do apprenticeships start?

It’s often best to keep tabs on potential apprenticeship opportunities, as vacancies can appear at any point throughout the year. However, large firms often begin to look for new apprentices in September, with applications sometimes being left open until as late as February. Smaller firms are more likely to start looking for apprentices shortly before they want them to start, so if you’re hoping to start an apprenticeship in September, consider looking for vacancies a month or two before.

The application process will have a start date and a deadline, but it would be advisable to apply as soon as possible, as some companies may close their application process early if they’ve already got a sufficient number of applicants.

What happens at the end of an apprenticeship?

When you complete your apprenticeship, you will be able to come away with proof that you’ve carried out a lengthy work experience period at a relevant company and gained a recognised qualification. It’s at this point that you will be able to consider your next move and, as someone that is now qualified in their chosen field, you should have more opportunities and be a more appealing candidate to potential employers.

You may have the option to stay on as a full-time employee of the company you worked for during your apprenticeship, but this is entirely dependent on whether the company has any vacancies and wishes to keep you on.

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