Apprenticeships are a good opportunity to gain qualifications, experience working and get paid at the same time. They involve working for an employer while studying part time with a training provider or college for a vocational qualification such as an NVQ. There are apprenticeships available in a huge range of sectors such as childcare, engineering, IT, hair and beauty and accountancy.
Completing an apprenticeship means you will have direct work experience and employability skills that others may lack. Those skills will be directly relevant to the sector you want to go into. A lot of employers want to see this in candidates applying for jobs. Also if you do decide to progress to university at a later time UCAS accepts Apprenticeships as a route into university.
There are three levels of apprenticeship:
- Level 2 Intermediate equivalent to 5 GCSEs grade A* to C
- Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship equivalent to 2 A Level passes
- Level 4 Higher Apprenticeship equivalent to a Higher National Certificate
Where to look for Vacancies and further advice
The following links will help you find current vacancies, (bear in mind some vacancies are advertised in more than one place):
The national apprenticeship site that aims to answer all questions regarding apprenticeships for students, parents and employers. As withjobs4you2 students can also get alerts for vacancies when they arrive and apply for those vacancies online. (Note that this operates at a national level, including Northamptonshire and the surrounding counties):
Starting Off offer a range of good quality apprenticeships in Northamptonshire: accountancy, customer service, business admin, IT, digital marketing
Key Training have foundation learning courses and apprenticeships covering Business & Administration, Customer Service, Recruitment, Management, Learning Support:
3AAA are an award winning provider of IT, Digital Marketing Finance, apprenticeship in Northampton: https://www.startingoff.co.uk/jobs
Aston Recruitment and Training specialise in engineering, hairdressing, marketing, health & social care and leadership & management apprentice and training courses for school leavers:
Not Going to Uni is A national website containing job, apprenticeship vacancies and some sponsored degrees: http://www.notgoingtouni.co.uk/apprenticeships-223
In addition, our local colleges also list current vacancies:
- Tresham College- http://www.tresham.ac.uk/sectors/employers-and-apprenticeships/apprenticeships/apprenticeship-vacancies/
- Northampton College - https://www.northamptoncollege.ac.uk/apprentices.html#
- Moulton College- http://www.moulton.ac.uk/our-courses/apprenticeships
If you haven’t quite achieved the grades you need at GCSE you could look to complete a foundation learning course, please see the link below for further information:
When applying for apprenticeships
Guidance on writing a CV and Covering Letter
Prospects have produced an excellent web page full of resources to help you in writing a CV and a covering letter. Look at the link below:
Guidance when going for a Job Interview
It’s likely that you have never attended a real job interview before, so follow these handy hints and tips to help you with the process. Good luck.
- Research the organisation and what they do or the course. You need to sound interested. Employers will expect you know something about the organisation and colleges will expect you have researched the course.
- If applying for the job and there is one, read the job description. You need to know what skills the employer wants and be able to give examples how you demonstrate them. Do not worry if you cannot demonstrate each skill as there may be training for a suitable applicant, particularly if the job is for a school leaver.
- Check your application form, letter and/or CV. The interviewer will have read these and may ask you questions about what you have written.
- Try answering some practice questions. Think about what the interviewer may ask you. This may seem weird but try practicing in front of a mirror or your parents. You can check your body language, or your tone of voice. Are you speaking too quickly or too slowly? (See the tab above for some example interview questions).
- Check the details. Where is the interview? What time is it? Do you know how to get there? You could even do a practice run. Do not be late!
- Check yourself. What are you going to wear? It’s better to be too smart than not smart enough. The interviewer will want to know that you have made an effort and show that you care.
- Ask questions at the end of the interview. Is there anything you want to know? Interviewers like to see you asking questions as this shows that you are interested in the role. Try to think of some questions in advance, and listen to the information given during the interview. The interviewer might answer one of your questions in the interview itself
- Remember to shake hands with the interviewer(s) at the start and end of the interview.
- Remain calm. You have prepared well. If you are right for the job/course, you will get it.
Example Interview Questions
This is a list of some of the most popular general questions that you could be asked at an interview.
- Tell me about yourself
- What are your strengths?
- What are your weaknesses?
- What can you do for us that other candidates can't?
- What are your goals? or Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
- Why do you want to work here?
- What are three positive things your last boss/teacher would say about you, and why?
- Can you give me an example of a time when you displayed great team work/leadership/people skills, (or any other skills relevant to the job)?
- Tell me what you know about….. (This is usually about something relevant to the course/job).
- If you were an animal / biscuit / famous person, which one would you want to be? And why?
- Are there any questions that you would like to ask about the job?
This list is not exhaustive and there are many other questions that you could be asked. Other questions could be based on information that you have given in your application form, letter of application or CV. Questions could also be based on information contained in the job description if there is one for that job.
How to Dress at an Interview
It is important that you dress well when attending a job or college interview. The following guides will help:
It is not just about how you answer questions and how you look at interview, your body language is also important. The advice in the web pages below may help: