Simple answer is that you are not an apprentice unless you are on an apprenticeship scheme. However, don't let that stop you applying for these jobs, you will just need to show clearly that you have gained an appropriate range of experiences in your work. But don't actually use the word "apprentice" in your application or employers will probably decide that you have lied - and that's your application straight in the bin. If you get on well with any of your HNC tutors see if they'll let you buy them a cup of coffee in return for advice on how to describe yourself - they might also know which companies are taking on in your area.
As they say: if you don't ask, you don't get! Don't worry that you might be turned down for 99 jobs, the hundredth job could be the good one.
Andy Millar CEng MIET CMgr MCMIhttp://www.linkedin.com/in/millarandy
"The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress." Joseph Joubert