29 September 2023

Apprenticeship Application Forms

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So, you’ve found the perfect apprenticeship and written a CV fit for the job gods… Now it’s time to apply.

The process usually begins with an online application form, where you’ll need to expand on everything you’ve put in your CV and cover letter.

Just like your CV, you want to make sure your application is the fairest of them all, and the following tips and tricks will help you do just that.

What goes in an apprenticeship application form?

Depending on the type of scheme you’re applying for, you may need to sign up for an account before you start the application.

You’ll be prompted to upload your CV and cover letter at some point during the process. Some companies’ systems are intuitive and will scan information from the CV to fill some sections in automatically…snazzy.

However, it’s good practice, great even, to check that the information is correct. Sometimes the computer gets it wrong.

1. Personal Information

Always sign up for an account with the company you’re applying for. That way, you’ll have access to loads more apprenticeship opportunities if the one you want doesn’t work out.

These accounts will securely store your details in their database in case you want to apply for more than one apprenticeship. You’ll be asked for your name, address, telephone number, email address and prompted to create a strong password.

If your details change at any point during the application process, make sure you update them in your account settings. If you know the contact details of the hiring office, it’s a good idea to also contact them directly to make sure they have your current information.

2. Education, Qualifications & Work Experience

This section is pretty self-explanatory. As mentioned, if you upload a CV, some forms will scan them and auto-fill specific sections – this is one of them.

However, make sure you go through these sections carefully. Sometimes the auto-fills get the formatting oh-so-wrong, and it might fill in your name and address where your high school should be.

When filling out the work experience boxes, explain what you did in great detail. You can talk about the responsibilities you were given and the skills you used and developed.

It’s important to provide real-life scenarios where you’ve used your skills.

For example, perhaps you spent a half-term getting work experience at a local supermarket. One day, a particularly difficult customer came in demanding a refund and you managed to quickly and calmly resolve the situation.

This shows you have key skills like problem solving, resilience and communication.

3. Hobbies and Interests

Employers want to know that you’re human. Knowing your hobbies and interests gives them a snapshot of you outside school or work. Here, you get to expand on that.

For bonus points, try and match your interests to the role you’re applying for.

For example, let’s say you spend your Saturdays glued to a gaming chair. That’s cool, but do you also stream or record and edit your gaming sessions for YouTube? Now that would be CV gold if you were applying for a digital media apprenticeship.

4. About Me

This is an excellent opportunity to expand on your CV’s personal statement and show off your best features. You’ll be given up to 500 words to do that.

Remember, this section isn’t a test on how many words you can write. Employers won’t care if you’ve only used half the word count. It’s all about quality, so make sure every word counts.

5. Competency-Based Questions

Most application forms will include a section that asks you to provide examples of your skills in action. These are called competency questions (or statements).

Questions will typically cover a range of scenarios based on all or some of the following:

  • Problem solving
  • Management
  • Leadership
  • Communication
  • Teamwork

They might sound complex, but they’re the best way for employers to find out how your mind works, and how you approach different situations..

If looking at the above is already sending you into a frenzy, breathe.

The best way to tackle these questions is by using the ever-handy STAR technique. Not sure what that is? It’s simply an easy way of remembering how to answer questions making sure you don’t leave out any important bits.

What does STAR stand for?

SITUATION – What was the situation you faced? When and where did it happen?

TASK – What was the task, and what was the objective?

ACTION – What action did you take to achieve your objective? How did you tackle the problem you faced?

RESULTS – What was the result of your actions? How did you measure your success? What did you learn from the situation (evaluation)? What skills did you learn?

Some employers might ask you to complete competency questions via video. They’ll usually give you a couple of days to do this so you can prepare, record and submit.

And as always, practice makes perfect. So the more applications you submit using the STAR technique, the more of a pro you’ll be.

Want to know more? We have a whole blog dedicated to the STAR technique!

Tips and Tricks

  1. Read the form from beginning to end before you start filling it in. Just like an exam paper.
  2. Print off the job description and circle all the required skills, or write them down and make a checklist. Include these skills in your written answers.
  3. Allow yourself time to fill in an application form. Most application forms can take between 45 minutes to a couple of hours to fill in. So make sure there are no distractions.
  4. Write your responses in a separate Microsoft Word or Google Doc. Spell check your work, then copy and paste it into the form. That way you’ll also have answers ready to tweak and tailor for future applications.
  5. Be honest. If you don’t have the skills for the job, it’s best not to apply. (You don’t want to tell an employer you’re well versed in coding when the only code you know is your bank card pin).
  6. Don’t be generic with your answers. Employers can smell a cliché from a mile away.
  7. Use professional language. “My tasks included sending emails to customers and answering inbound phone calls” works much better than “Man sent emails to customers and chatted on the phone innit.”
  8. If you don’t have any work experience, you can include any unpaid, voluntary or charity work you’ve completed.
  9. Save while you work. There’s nothing worse than writing an application that’ll time out, and you’ve saved nothing.
  10. Always review your application before submitting. This way, you’ll be able to catch any pesky mistakes that may have been missed.

There’s no time like the present to start applying for apprenticeships. There are hundreds of roles currently available on RateMyApprenticeship.co.uk. Click below to get started…