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How to apply for an apprenticeship

Information on eligibility and how to apply for an apprenticeship.

Bentley apprentices  (Reproduced with permission from Bentley) Who’s eligible for an apprenticeship?

There aren’t any set entry requirements for apprenticeships - they’re open to anyone over the age of 16 as long as they are living in England and not currently in full-time education. If you have a degree you can still do an apprenticeship but you’re not eligible for funding - your employer will have to pay your training costs.

The exact entry requirements for apprenticeships will vary based on the employer; however, not everything rides on your academic achievements alone. Employers will value your enthusiasm and desire to learn, so practical skills and interest in your chosen area are very important.

In order to apply, you should be:

  • committed;
  • responsible;
  • prepared for further study;
  • happy to work both individually and as part of a team;
  • able to use your own initiative;
  • able to show you’ve researched the area of work you want to do, and that you’re the right person for the job.

Equality and diversity

Apprenticeship programmes are inclusive and must comply with the principles of equality and diversity. They must show that they take an active approach to identifying and removing barriers to entry and progression. Apprenticeships must ensure equality of access for those with a learning difficulty. If there are any legal restrictions that limit entry to an apprenticeship these must be stated.

How to apply

There are several ways to apply for an apprenticeship:

Employer contact

If you’ve found an apprenticeship within a company that particularly interests you then you can approach the employer directly. Before you contact them, it’s a good idea to check the company’s website as answers to the most common questions might be there.

Remember that you’ll be contacting the company as a potential employee so act professionally - first impressions are important.

Finding an employer

To find companies offering apprenticeships, you can search company profiles on The Apprenticeship Guide online [new window] or check your local job listings and Jobcentre Plus via the Directgov website [new window]. Local recruitment agencies might also be a good source of advice.

IET approved apprenticeship schemes

IET approved apprenticeship schemes offer apprentices many benefits including streamlined Engineering Technician (EngTech) application processes, TMIET membership of the IET plus much, much more. 

Check out some case studies of IET approved apprenticeship schemes and be sure to download the full list of IET approved apprenticeship scheme providers.

Already working?

If you’ve got a job, why not ask your employer if they’d consider taking you on as an apprentice? Point them to the employers’ section of the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) website [new window] for more information.

National Apprenticeship Service

NAS looks after apprenticeships in England and are good people to contact. You can search for, view and apply for apprenticeship vacancies across the country through their website, register your details to find out more information, or use their helpline for support and general advice.

NAS helpline

Call the NAS helpline on 02476 826482 for support using the online vacancy matching service. An advisor will also be able to give you general advice on applications and how to put yourself forward in the best light. The call is free and could lead to your future career.


Edited from The Apprenticeship Guide 2014 [new window]