How to recruit an apprentice

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A step-by-step guide for recruiting an apprentice. Let’s talk about how to select the best candidates and outsource paperwork.

Key points:

  • The apprenticeship recruitment process can be summarised in four steps – pick a programme, contact a training provider, advertise and interview
  • A training provider like TSW will work with you to firm up the specifics of the apprenticeship role, write the job description in English and Welsh, and market it
  • The employer and apprentice must sign an apprenticeship agreement, agreeing to objectives that make the apprenticeship a success

The recruitment process

Before you start the apprenticeship recruitment process, keep in mind that:

  • An apprenticeship is a job
  • A potential apprentice is a job seeker

Put aside the qualifications and you are still hiring the right person into your company to fulfil a role.

The recruitment process gives you the chance to find a candidate who will not just do the job, but put in the extra hours to complete assignments and pass assessments, and want to funnel their skills back into the business, over several years.

But if we strip all of that back and just look at the logistics, the recruitment process for hiring an apprentice is very similar to hiring any other candidate.

You’ll advertise the role, interview candidates, and hire the right person for the job.

You need to:

  • Pick an apprenticeship programme that’s relevant to your business
  • Contact a training provider who offers the apprenticeship you need
  • Advertise the role and interview
  • Hire the apprentice
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How to pick an apprenticeship training programme

In Wales, we have 23 apprenticeship routes and four Levels available to employers. There are lots of opportunities to bring skilled workers into your team.

The diversity of the routes and apprenticeships within them means you could have apprentices at various seniority levels, studying in completely different vocations.

If you don’t know where to start

Don’t worry – the world of apprenticeships is detail-heavy and you can’t be an expert on the qualifications (we do that for you). But, you know the goals your business is pursuing. For example, in particular departments you want to:

  • Reduce overheads
  • Improve service
  • Better your product quality
  • Win more business

That’s a great place to start. A good apprenticeships training provider can look at the structure of your business and identify opportunities based on the goals you want to achieve.

If you want to find out more about the returns apprenticeships bring, read on.

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How to find an apprenticeship training provider in Wales

Apprenticeship training providers have different vocational specialisms.

TSW specialise in engineering, CYP, childcare (including CCPLD and Playwork), information, advice and guidance, and leadership and management apprenticeships. All our apprenticeships are awarded by national accreditors like City & Guilds and ILM.

We can also advise you in other fields. Just contact us (or open the chatbot) if you need advice or help.

There are also different approaches to delivery. We have a hands-on approach, that has an emphasis on planning, communication and collaboration.

How to advertise your apprenticeship role

The first step is to create your job description. You need to know the following details:

  • Employer name
  • Subject and Level of qualification
  • Location, where the apprentice will be based
  • Starting salary (plus any increase)
  • About the role, including duties
  • Benefits
  • Required skills

That information needs to be formatted and translated into Welsh ready for distribution on the Welsh Government’s Apprentice Vacancy Service (AVS) recruitment portal.

All roles must be advertised in English and Welsh. The Welsh Government offers a free translation service called ‘Helo Blod‘.

As well as marketing your roles, you can also have an employer profile on the AVS. Your profile tells apprentices your contact information, plus how frequently you hire apprentices, what the rate of pay is, the qualities you look for in candidates and what they could expect to be doing at your business.

Send us a message to discuss the process further. 

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Some employers use external recruitment agencies and portals, like Indeed and LinkedIn, to market opportunities too.

What is the AVS?

The AVS is a recruitment platform designed for employers, to help you to advertise, manage and track apprenticeship vacancies.

Using the AVS, you can list and publish your apprenticeship roles and collect applications.

Get a shortlist of candidates

This is where the recruitment process deviates from hiring via a specialist recruiter. We take on that role, if you need us to. We can do CV screening or third party phone interviews before you get applicant details.

In any case, you need to set aside some time to look over the CVs and make a shortlist.

If you’re hiring at Level 2, those are entry-level qualifications, so chances are the job is pitched at young apprentices looking for their first role. You just need signs of enthusiasm – that might be through non-academic accomplishment, as well as through exam results.

If you’re hiring at Levels 4+, these will be senior experienced candidates, so you can screen their CV for relevant experience and for qualities that will aid the role.

Your training provider is on hand to support you, and offer a second opinion, as you create the candidate shortlist.

The eligibility criteria for each apprenticeship is slightly different, so we’ll help you to understand the criteria outlined by the Welsh Government.

How to interview potential apprentices

The questions you ask will vary depending on the experience and ability of the candidate.

Then Level 4+ line of questioning can be more sophisticated, probing their duties, responsibilities and results from previous roles.

You can pursue evidence-based, knowledge and competency answers.

Levels 2 and 3 roles might need to be more fluid if the employment history isn’t there, or they are fresh from school. ‘Tell me about yourself’, and ‘what are your long-term goals?’ are two open questions that will reveal a lot about your potential apprentice.

It’s also a good opportunity to set their expectations about what the apprenticeship will entail.

At this point, your training provider will have discussed the assessment schedule with you, and you’ll have thought about how the apprentice will ‘slot into’ your workplace.

It’s an opportunity for you to relay some of that information, not only to make them aware of what’s ahead but also to scope out how their thoughts and approach to the extra workload.

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Offering the candidate the apprenticeship

The job offer outlines their salary, annual leave and benefits, just like a regular job offer.

The critical difference between a regular job offer, and an apprenticeship job offer is an apprenticeship agreement.

The apprenticeship agreement

In a typical recruitment situation, the employer would make an offer and the candidate accept, then the contract would be signed.

For an apprenticeship job offer, the employer and employee must also sign an apprenticeship agreement. The agreement exists to:

  • Make sure there is an exceptional learning experience, that benefits the apprentice and employer
  • Maintain engagement between the employer and apprentice throughout the apprenticeships
  • Achieve all qualifications within agreed deadlines

Within the agreement are detailed objectives for both the employer and apprentice.

It acknowledges that an apprenticeship job offer isn’t a 9-5 commitment. The apprentice agrees to meet the extra demands for between one to four years and to take assessments to complete their qualifications.

And the employer agrees to support them and make allowances for assessment time and planning.

It means that both parties go into the qualifications with their eyes open and the duration of the apprenticeship is planned.

Apprenticeship candidates want to work with you because you’re offering:

  • The chance to learn from experts, on-the-job
  • An accelerated career trajectory

But it’s a long road and you need assurance that they’re committed and aware of what’s involved from the outset.

Completing the mandatory paperwork

We’ll help you to complete the paperwork to make sure your apprentice is compliant with Welsh Government’s eligibility criteria, which varies between apprenticeship programmes.

Need help recruiting your apprentice?

At TSW Training Apprenticeships, we offer the ultimate apprenticeship recruitment support service.

We organise the funding, help to get your paperwork up to standard, and guide you through advertising on the Apprenticeship Vacancy Service (AVS). We use our wide network to help you hire the right person. We also offer regular consultation to guide you through the process, as often as you need it.

All you have to do is handpick the most exciting candidate, who will flourish on your watch.

Get in touch today for an initial chat about how you can recruit an apprentice.


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