How to get an Apprenticeship… top tips from Harry, Year 13, Faringdon Community College

I’m Harry in Year 13 and I’m looking to do an Apprenticeship in finance or accounting when I leave school in the summer after finishing my A Levels.

I’ve always been good with numbers and am doing Maths, Business and Economics A Levels, so I thought that a career in finance would be a good option for me.

In Year 10, I did work experience in the business and finance section at Delphi and have also spent a week at my dad’s work and a day in the finance section at my mum’s work, Usborn Books. My school work experience and voluntary work experience have been really helpful in showing me what it would be like to work in finance and helping me decide that it’s definitely what I want to do.

I thought about going to uni, but I’ve read about Apprenticeships being highly valued by employers and I like the idea of getting experience in the workplace and learning hands-on, so decided that an Apprenticeship would be a better option for me.

In December I saw that Jaguar have an Apprenticeship scheme, which I applied for. I didn’t get in but it made me want to look into Apprenticeships more, as it gave me more of an idea of what they involve and what they can give you. I started looking on the government website: www.findapprenticeship.service.gov.uk to find out what other companies offer Apprenticeships.

I’ve now started applying and I’ve found it quite an easy process – on the government website you fill in a form and send it off every time you apply for something, you don’t have to keep doing different ones. For the Jaguar one, I had to do some online tests and assessments, you might have so do things like that too.

My top tips...

  • Start looking early. Some big companies like Jaguar and BMW start advertising really early in the school year – December and January time, which is earlier than you would expect.
  • Be broad in what you’re searching for. I started off just searching for accountancy and not many were coming up. I widened the search to finance and suddenly there were lots more Apprenticeships that had aspects of finance in them that I would enjoy that I hadn’t considered or didn’t know about.
  • Apply for as many as you can and keep your options open.
  • Be persistent. You might not get the first few you apply for and that can be disappointing. Apprenticeships with the big companies can be really competitive and you might not get in. But you’ll learn from the experience and feel better prepared for the next application or interview.