Apprenticeships: what makes a good application?

You have loads of options for your next steps in education and one that you should definitely consider is an apprenticeship.

People of all ages and backgrounds study an apprenticeship and they are a great way to get the skills and qualifications you need for your dream job!

This article explains what an apprenticeship is, the different types of apprenticeship, and how to apply.

What is an apprenticeship?

Simply speaking an apprenticeship is a job but unlike regular employment you will remain engaged in education for a set period of time and gain a qualification while working.

When studying an apprenticeship you will spend 80% of your time in the workplace learning practical skills relevant to your chosen industry and learning from other members of staff. The other 20% of your time will be spent at a college, university or with a training provider where you will learn the theory to support you in your work. This often means apprentices spend one day a week at college, university or a training provider (often known as day release). In some cases apprentices may spend longer periods of time away from the workplace which is known as block release.

Assessment will depend on the subject and qualification you are working towards but common assessments for apprentices include completing coursework, sitting exams and keeping a portfolio to demonstrate skills.

Benefits of studying an apprenticeship

  • You will learn real life practical skills in your chosen field, get hands-on experience and learn from other members of staff at your workplace.

  • You will get the opportunity to study at a college, university or training provider.

  • You will earn money while gaining a qualification.

There are four types of apprenticeship that you can study and each leads to a qualification at a different level. The entry requirements and the length of time it takes to complete each level of apprenticeship differ so look into this when you are researching apprenticeships in the area you want to work in.

Levels of apprenticeship

The different levels of apprenticeship are:

Intermediate Equivalent to studying for five GSCEs.

Advanced Equivalent to studying for two A-levels.

Higher Equivalent to studying for a higher national certificate or higher national diploma.

Degree Equivalent to studying for a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree.

Applying for an apprenticeship is like applying for college or university and a job all at once.

That may sound daunting but FutureMe teamed up with Dan, who is the Apprenticeship and Graduate Recruitment Lead for Accenture’s Newcastle, Manchester and Edinburgh offices, to get some key information about what makes a successful apprenticeship application.

Can you tell us a little about the apprentice programme at Accenture?

Accenture offers degree apprenticeships that last three or four years. In addition to gaining a degree in technology, our apprentices also get hands-on work experience from day one, learning from industry experts at the top of their game.

FutureMe Graphic.png

You will get the opportunity to study at a college, university or training provider.

What skills and qualities do you look for in applicants to your apprenticeship programme, and how can applicants demonstrate these in their application?

We are looking for apprentices who are hard-working, committed and punctual. Working and studying at the same time requires resilience, and our apprentices need to have a can-do attitude and a willingness to learn. Good communication and team working skills will help you a lot in your role as an apprentice, and as this is a technology apprenticeship, we are expecting applicants to demonstrate a passion for technology. We recommend that applicants give examples in their application of when they’ve demonstrated these skills.

What makes a strong application to an apprenticeship?

It always looks good if applicants show that they have researched the company they are applying to, so do some research. Explain why you would like to work with us and what attracted you to the apprenticeship. Also make sure that your application, CV and cover letter don’t have grammatical and spelling errors.

Can you give some advice on preparing for the interview and performing well?

Again, do your research on the company and come prepared with examples of when you have demonstrated skills that the company is looking for (team working skills, can-do attitude, adaptability, etc.). Just try to relax and be yourself, at Accenture we are keen to get to know you as a person during the interview.

What advice would you give young people with little formal work experience?

It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a lot of formal work experience. In an interview, it’s fine to give examples of things you’ve done at school or college rather than at work when answering questions. We are looking for people with potential, regardless of how much work experience they have.

What are some of the common mistakes you see throughout the application process and how can young people avoid doing the same?

When you are asked to answer questions in your application or to submit a cover letter, make sure that it’s directed at the company you are applying to rather than just submitting a generic cover letter. Try not to provide cover letters or answers to questions that are too short – make it clear in your application why you think you have what it takes to be a good apprentice and what you would like to gain from the apprenticeship.

Click the image below to download the original article (PDF):


For more information on apprenticeships and higher education visit

Web editor