If you know what career or industry you want to work in, an apprenticeship might be the best way to get a foot in the door.
There are thousands of apprenticeships across the country, and finding the right one for you is the first step. The second step? Writing your application.
Here’s everything you need to know to help you feel confident and prepared before you write your apprenticeship personal statement.
What is a personal statement?
A personal statement is a brief summary of who you are and your background.
It helps interviewers get to know you, and is a great way to show your skills, experience, education and personality to potential apprenticeship employers. If you’re interested in an apprenticeship that’s especially popular, your personal statement could be the make or break between getting accepted or not.
Do you need a personal statement for an apprenticeship?
It depends. it’s very common for apprenticeships and interviewers to ask for a personal statement, and this is a good thing – it gives you the opportunity to demonstrate what a great candidate you are.
Some apprenticeships will just ask for your CV, personal details, academic certificates or portfolio, or they might ask you to complete a test. Others might expect you to apply on employer career portals, where you type your information directly into the website.
What should I include in my apprenticeship personal statement?
An apprenticeship personal statement is usually less than one A4 page long, so you don’t need to delve into extreme detail. What you write will vary between applications, but here are the fundamental topics that you should include:
Discuss any work experience, part-time jobs or volunteering that you have done. Focus on the skills and knowledge you learned, what you gained from the experience, or what you contributed. If your work/volunteering experience isn’t directly relevant to the apprenticeship, make sure you still include it – instead, try to focus on the transferable skills.
Academic background and qualifications
The chances are that you will have more academic experience than work experience, but this isn’t a problem. Write a few sentences about what you have learned from your studies, what skills you have developed, where you succeeded and what you enjoyed.
Show your enthusiasm
Don’t be afraid to be enthusiastic and show your interest – after all, interviewers will want to know that you are excited about this course and ready to learn.
You don’t always need to include your hobbies and interests, but it can be a useful addition to your personal statement. You could discuss what skills you have learned from your extracurricular hobbies and how these are applicable to the apprenticeship or your future.
There’s one big question that interviewers will ask: what do you want to do in the future? Briefly discuss what your future goals are, e.g. what job, industry or company you are working towards. Then, link it back to how the apprenticeship can help you achieve these goals.
What do I need to know before writing my apprenticeship personal statement?
Before you even put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard!) brainstorm your responses to the following questions. Try to briefly answer all, if not most, of them in your personal statement:
- Why do you want to work in this industry?
- What is it about this specific apprenticeship or company that interests you? Do some further research on their websites.
- What skills are required for this apprenticeship? And do you have them?
- When have you demonstrated the relevant skills? Think of some examples.
- What are your top 3 strengths or qualities?
- Why do you think an apprenticeship is right for you?
Not only will your answers help you write a high-quality personal statement, but this is a good reflective exercise to help you feel confident you’re on a path that you feel passionate and excited about.
How many apprenticeship applications should I send?
There’s no right or wrong answer. Each application should be personalised and relevant to the specific job or course that you’re applying for. Even if you apply for 5 accounting apprenticeships, don’t assume that every application can be the same just because they are all for the accounting industry.
But personalisation takes time, so don’t expect to spam 50 apprenticeships with your application if you want to be successful. In summary, there’s no limit to how many apprenticeships you can apply for, as long as you put the time and effort into personalising each application.
Extra personal statement tips
Plan, plan, plan
You know what they say: ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail’. Once you’ve brainstormed your answers, organise them in a cohesive, concise manner so you know what you are going to say about each topic, and how you will link them together. This will help you to fit everything in without writing too much.
Check for errors
Once you’ve written your personal statement, make sure your proofread it for any typos, spelling mistakes or other errors. If you’re not confident that you’ll spot the mistakes, ask a friend, family member or a teacher to read it for you.
What’s the best thing you can do if you don’t have the right skills or subjects for a particular apprenticeship? Tell the truth. Don’t lie about what you have and haven’t done. Instead, describe any similar experience that you have, and explain why you want to learn new skills.
Apprenticeship personal statements take time to write. So don’t leave it until the night before the application closes – start early and give yourself enough days, weeks or even months to write an application that you’ll be proud of.
Use key words
Key words aren’t a necessity, but you could think about what words are frequently used to describe the apprenticeship. E.g. if you’re applying for a hairdressing apprenticeship, you might use words like ‘customer-focused’, ‘friendly’ and ‘creative’. You can usually identify keywords by reading job descriptions for the apprenticeship or similar jobs in that industry.
Re-read the apprenticeship description
Have you addressed the skills and experience that the apprenticeship is asking for? Have they asked you to write about something specific that you may have missed out? Re-read the apprenticeship description to make sure you’ve included everything.
If you haven’t heard back about your application, send a polite email or give the relevant person a call. Not only is this a great way to demonstrate your enthusiasm, but it will help you build a relationship with your potential employer.
Start writing your application today
This might seem like a lot of info, but once you have written a couple of personal statements it will feel much easier. Plus – it will be worth it when you secure your apprenticeship and dive into an exciting career.
Still not sure what to apply for? Take a look at our industry guides. From beauty to paramedics, science to tattooing, we’ve got everything you need to know about apprenticeships in your dream industry.