5 Top Tips for Finding your Perfect Apprentice

4 Minutes

Some of the most recognisable faces in business started out as apprentices. From TV chef Gordon Ramsay to John Caudwell – founder of Phones 4u, which he sold for £1.5 billion in 2006 – this career path has long proved to be a lucrative route for emerging talent. Apprentices are eager to learn, cost-effective and, with the right management, have the potential to become future leaders.

In the UK, the number of apprenticeship starts increased eight-fold between 1996 and 2011, according to the House of Commons Library, with around half a million budding professionals pursuing this career path every year since. Tune into this opportunity and hire apprentices perfect for your business with these top tips from Pareto.


1. Read up on the requirements

Firstly, make sure you know what you’re signing up for before you start to recruit apprentices. There are various legal rules in place surrounding apprenticeships. From minimum age to minimum wage, contract length to official agreements, you can find all the essential details on the government website.

While there are several legal requirements to consider, there are also great frameworks in place to help both you and your apprentice get the most out of the arrangement. In addition to gaining real work experience, your recruits will undergo professional training tailored to your industry. All you need to do is:

  1. Find a relevant apprenticeship training course using the online government tool
  2. Check what government funding your business is eligible for
  3. Choose a specialist training provider - like Pareto for sales apprenticeships


2. Advertise in Summer

Post your advertisements in the run-up to summer and make sure they’re still visible – if unfilled - on exam result days, for both GCSEs and A Levels. In 2017/18, almost 60% of UK apprentices were aged between 16 and 24-years-old. So, while age doesn’t determine an apprentice’s ability, the statistics suggest that capturing high school and university leavers is a promising way to recruit apprentices for your business.1


3. Be proactive in your search

Spread the word about your apprenticeship and reach out to people if you think they have potential. You could:

  • Register your apprenticeship on the government website
  • Post a job advertisement on other relevant websites, such as UCAS
  • Contact schools, colleges and universities with information about your apprenticeship
  • Search LinkedIn for candidates and contact them with details of your position

The more proactive you are looking for the perfect apprentice, the likelier you are to actually find them.


4. Focus on soft skills

The buzzword here is soft skills. By definition, an apprentice is someone without industry experience – so the way to spot success is by looking for more general attributes. According to our research, the most desirable soft skills across all industry sectors include:

  • Strong communication skills
  • Passion
  • Drive
  • Ability to work as part of a team

Before you advertise the position, consider which soft skills you think your apprentice needs to have – perhaps a certain level of IT skills or a creative flair. Include this in your advertisement and make it a central part of the interview process.


5. Tailor your interview process

With an emphasis on soft skills rather than experience, when recruiting apprentices you need to shape your interview process to get the most out of your candidates. Consider how you could use situational questions to assess specific abilities:

  • Presentation skills: If you were giving a presentation to a small group of people, how would you make it engaging?
  • Time management:How would you stay organised if you had numerous tight deadlines to meet?
  • Confidence:If you disagreed with your manager's strategy, what would you do?

Every apprenticeship scheme is different and will be mostly determined by your individual business needs. However, by considering the points above, you can line yourself up for success when you start to look for and recruit apprentices.

If you’re thinking about hiring an apprentice, find out how Pareto could help you find the perfect fit.



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