Post 16 Options: Getting an Apprenticeship

3rd July 2018 by Tracy Walters

Getting an apprenticeship takes loads of effort and dedication, but the rewards make it all worthwhile.

In terms of full-time courses, local Colleges and Sixth Forms are vying for your attention, keen to attract you and ensure you enrol on one of their programmes. In some ways the apprenticeship market works the opposite way. Vacancies are advertised with the intention of creating a competitive market, from which the employer can select their chosen new employee. In other words, you compete against fellow apprenticeship hopefuls. Some popular apprenticeship schemes will have hundreds of applicants per place!

However, let’s be positive about this. There are vacancies to compete for, although the available work is directly related to the local labour market and how far you are prepared to travel. So, how can you gain a competitive edge and put yourself in with the best chance of becoming an apprentice?

Here are some CareerWave top tips for ‘Getting an Apprenticeship’

Create an account with ‘Find an Apprenticeship’ at

Search throughout Year 11. Most employers advertise a few months before the start date. Vacancies with a start after your ‘school leaving date’ are more likely to be advertised from Easter onwards. The very biggest employers may advertise just before or just after Christmas.

Register with Training Providers and Colleges. Let them help you look for a vacancy. Details of the training provider or college linked to each apprenticeship can be found in the job advertisements on If you see a vacancy which you can’t apply for yet, make sure you directly contact the training provider or college.

Contact employers. If you or your family knows a local employer who might be interested in taking on an apprentice, you might be the person they wish to employ. Speculatively contacting local businesses is a way to find an apprenticeship, but be warned, it takes a lot of effort for potentially little return.

Larger companies advertise their apprenticeship schemes on their company website too. If you aspire to work for one of them, then you should go to the ‘Careers’ page of the company website.

Research the job role, skills and abilities. You need to tell the employer that you have the skills and abilities they are looking for. These websites are recommended for finding out about the skills and abilities needed for each job; (Job Profiles) (registration needed)

Find out more about apprenticeships at

Cast your net wider. There are several other websites which advertise apprenticeship vacancies and, in some cases, act as an intermediary between you and the employers: