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How to apply for an apprenticeship

Apprenticeships are a great way to start your career and have many benefits for both the apprentice and the employer.

With the increasing popularity of apprenticeships comes more competition for apprenticeship job vacancies. This guide shows you:

How to apply for an apprenticeship

To secure an apprenticeship, including a degree apprenticeship, you will need to be in a job role where both the role and the employer supports the apprenticeship.

I already have a job

If you are already in a suitable job role, think about approaching your line manager about training and upskilling opportunities and discuss whether a degree apprenticeship could be the solution. Essentially, you need to:

If your line manager wants any further information, our Degree apprentices for employers page has more information. They can also contact us at [email protected] and arrange an informal chat with one of our experts.

Get more information about degree apprenticeships at Anglia Ruskin University, including what degree apprenticeship courses we offer.

I am not in a job

If you are not currently employed, then you will need to apply for an apprenticeship job role. Applying for an apprenticeship job vacancy is like applying for any other job vacancy. You will need to search for the right apprenticeship vacancy, apply and go through the job interview process, if shortlisted.

Sending a speculative application

You could consider accessing the ‘hidden jobs market’ by sending a speculative application to a company you’d like to work for, highlighting your interest in starting a degree apprenticeship at ARU and asking if it’s something they might consider supporting you with. Here’s advice to help you with sending a speculative apprenticeship letter.

If you find an employer that’s interested in taking you on, please get in touch and introduce us to them by emailing [email protected], so that we can take them through the details of what it means for them to employ you as an apprentice.

Where can I look for degree apprenticeship opportunities?

You can find apprenticeship job vacancies advertised on most job sites, the Gov.UK website, UCAS and, for degree apprenticeships, usually on the university’s website.

Here are some good sources.

On the Gov.UK website

On the Gov.UK website

  • Go to www.gov.uk/apply-apprenticeship
  • Click Search
  • Add in your keywords, location, level etc
  • This will give you a list of apprenticeship vacancies that match your search criteria
  • You will be asked to either apply through the employer’s website or create an account within the Gov.UK website

ARU vacancies list and email alerts

The ARU apprenticeship vacancies listings and email alerts

Go to our apprenticeship vacancies listings.

You can view and apply for any current degree apprenticeships vacancies we are advertising on behalf of our employer partners. You can also complete the ‘register your interest’ form and get added to our regular degree apprenticeship email alerts.

Person performing an internet search on a laptop

Top tips for getting your degree apprenticeship application shortlisted

Where possible apply for more than one vacancy at a time to increase your chances of securing a degree apprenticeship.

Always submit a new covering letter / supporting statement that addresses that job’s specification. It makes it easier for the recruiter to see if you are a good match for the job.

When submitting a CV make sure you keep it as concise as possible, preferably under two sides. Include your name and contact details on the first page and summarise who you are and your key strengths in a few sentences in your opening personal statement.

Tell the recruiter why you think you are the right person for the job. That will be in the covering letter or supporting statement. Be explicit, eg: 'I believe I am the right person for this role because I have both the skills and personality to succeed in this role…' Then follow it up with how and evidence.

For example, if you say you have leadership skills back it up with evidence, 'I demonstrated leadership when I led a fundraising project for my local charity and raised…'

Check and address your covering letter to the right person. It shows you have attention to detail.

Conduct some research on the company and read the job spec carefully; let the recruiter know why you want to work for that company specifically.

Check and double-check your spelling, grammar, and sentence structures. Ask someone you trust to proof-read it. Recruiters get put off when they read typos and poor grammar.

Go onto the IFATE (Institute for Apprenticeship’s & Technical Education) website to check the skills, knowledge and behaviours you will learn whilst on the apprenticeship. It will give you an understanding on what you are applying for. For example, what actually is quantity surveying?

Person in an interview with two interviewers

Top tips for your job interview

You’ve got through the application stage, and you’ve been shortlisted for an interview. Apprenticeship job interviews are the same as other job interviews. Here is some best practice advice for job interviews.

  1. Think about what questions they may ask around the job specification and prepare answers so you can quickly recall how you have demonstrated that skill/knowledge/experience/aptitude in the past.
  2. Frame your replies around the STAR technique which stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result. For example, “I volunteered to do the marketing for my local charity group (situation). I was asked to promote a local charity event on zero budget (task). I researched all the local Facebook groups and posted about the event (action). It got lots of engagement including reposts. The event was very well attended and raised £s (result).”
  3. Research the company including their social media accounts, website, company history (usually on the About page), their products/services, their company values, vision and mission statements. 
  4. Think about common interview questions and how you might answer them. Some common questions are:
    • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
    • Why did you apply for this position?
    • What do you think you can bring to this company?
    • Where would you like to be in five years’ time?
    • How do you like to be managed?
  5. Think of three thoughtful questions to ask the interviewer at the end of the interview. You may not have enough time to ask three but have three in mind, eg ‘What does a typical day look like in this role?’ or ‘What do you personally like most about working for this organisation?’
  6. If your interview is an online interview check and test the following:
    • joining link works
    • your laptop camera and microphone work
    • the lighting is just right
    • you have made your household aware of the interview to avoid disruptions.

For more advice on CVs, covering letters, job applications and job interviews: https://nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/; https://www.apprenticeships.gov.uk/influencers/finding-the-right-apprenticeship

Three university students walking along a corridor

Getting onto an ARU Apprenticeship – the steps

To get a clearer view of securing an apprenticeship with ARU, here is the process step-by-step.

As described above in section Where can I look for degree apprenticeship opportunities?

Applying for an apprenticeship is like applying for a job so apply by the deadline on the advert. You can apply for as many apprenticeships as you like to increase your chances of getting recruited. You also don’t need to apply on UCAS like a degree. See our tips above.

Just like a job, if you get shortlisted by the employer, you’ll be invited along to a job interview. It is recommended that you prepare thoroughly as you will be asked about your understanding of the job. See our tips above.

Should you be successful in securing the apprenticeship job, your employer will provide a link to apply for the apprenticeship course. Once you have submitted your application, we’ll check your eligibility for funding and start the process of registering you for your apprenticeship. This will include the necessary contracting to secure your funding.

Your new employer will organise getting you started in your new job. You should expect an induction and to be buddied with a mentor.

We’ll let you know when classes start; where to go; and what you’ll be learning.

What next?

Sign up to vacancies alerts

Illustration representing a job search: magnifying glass with the word 'Job'

Now you are ready to apply for an apprenticeship, you can sign up for our degree apprenticeship vacancies alerts, so you never miss out on any opportunities.

Open Day

Illustration of two people at an interview

If you have any further questions about our degree apprenticeships or how to apply for an apprenticeship, why not come along to an Open Day at one of our campuses, and speak to one of our advisors.