Autumn: Now is the time to…
The Autumn term (September – December) is the ideal time to inspire your students to explore their options. Starting a new academic year means that they will already be thinking about their next steps, particularly if they are in years 11, 12 and 13. Use this time to work with your students, and their families, to consider all of their options.
We have selected our top activities to help your students get ready this term:
1. KEEP OPTIONS OPEN
It is important that all students understand the full range of opportunities available to them, even if they feel that they have already decided on their next steps after school. The autumn term is the perfect time to encourage students to explore apprenticeships and the benefits that they bring, alongside other options too.
- Utilise the Apprentices are Amazing film to start to inspire your students.
- Ensure that students have a good understanding of the different levels of apprenticeship available, and comprehend why they may not go straight in at degree apprentice level.
- Arrange an assembly to explain the range of options available post-school (this could be a session for your parents and carers too)
Top tip: The ASK Programme can provide fully-funded support to your school to deliver a range of awareness assemblies
- Use the resources available (such as the interactive student apprenticeship guide) to allow students to conduct their own research.
- Approach past students to come in and share their stories with your current students. What are they doing now, and what is their inspirational advice for current students?
2. EXPLORE WHAT IS AVAILABLE
It is important at this stage to challenge and inspire students and their families – including tackling any misconceptions about career paths available and the opportunities that different industries can offer. Students may find it useful to start by exploring the apprenticeship job roles that align with their personal interests to start to rule-in (and rule-out) different job roles available. But it is important that before they rule anything out, that they have been equipped with information and knowledge to help them.
- Bring in local employers to speak with students and explain their business and sector.
Top tip: Your local Careers Hub may be able to support with this.
- Many larger companies now offer open evenings to attract apprentices and explain their early talent opportunities.
Are any local organisations offering to speak to students and their parents?
- Connect with your Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and ensure that you are informed about any upcoming events or opportunities to meet with local employers.
- Share information with parents and carers about the range of options available and establish a system for sharing this regularly. The monthly parents and carers pack, produced by Amazing Apprenticeships on behalf of the Department for Education, can be circulated to help to ensure that families are receiving regular information about the range of options available.
3. register on find an apprenticeship
The Government portal, Find an Apprenticeship, is free of charge to use and provides access to thousands of apprenticeship vacancies. Students can register for an account, conduct job searches, manage their alerts (meaning they can receive text messages and emails when new jobs are added to the site) and start looking at the wide range of apprenticeship opportunities being advertised.
- Ensure that students have set up an account on Find an Apprenticeship
Top tip: The ASK Programme can provide fully-funded support to your school to deliver registration and application workshops.
4. know where else to look
Not all employers will use Find an apprenticeship (above) to advertise their opportunities. Your students will need to understand that they will potentially need to look in lots of different places to find apprenticeship vacancies, and that each opportunity will have a different closing date for applications. This needs to be stressed to your students so that they do not rely on one source only for finding an apprenticeship and they realise that they will need to utilise multiple search techniques.
- Visit Amazing Employers to be inspired by the wide range of well-known employers offering a variety of apprenticeship programmes.
- Encourage students to identify the companies that they are interested in working for and then register on each individual company’s website for job alerts and to follow them on social media platforms.
- Utilising personal networks through friends and family can be a really effective way to find apprenticeship vacancies.
Help students to think about their networks, and who they could tell that might be able to help them.
- University open days are a fantastic opportunity to research higher and degree apprenticeships as well as full-time degree options. The apprenticeship team at the university will be able to talk about the range of programmes that they offer and the employers that they are working with.
5. don’t just focus on uni applications
Although the autumn term is traditionally a time that students will focus on writing and finalising their personal statement, it’s important that students realise that there is actually a lot of cross-over in preparing a personal statement and starting to get ready to apply for apprenticeships. There will be parts of the student’s UCAS personal statement that will be very relevant to use (with a few tweaks) and once a student has prepared their first apprenticeship application, they should be able to use this
as a starting point for other applications, although each application will need to be tailored to that particular opportunity.
- Help students to know how to read a job advert, spot the ‘buzz words’ and then carefully and succinctly repeat these back to the employer within the application. Preparing statements in this way is an important skill that teachers will need to support students to develop.
- It is also important that students realise apprenticeship applications should not be rushed and that if they really want to be successful, they are going to need to spend as much time and effort on their apprenticeship applications as they would do their university application.
- Ensure the staff supporting students with this process feel confident in how to approach and write an apprenticeship application. The Teachers Guide that we have created, on behalf of the Department for Education, is an excellent way to support teachers.
6. stand out from the crowd
Helping students to think about their personal strengths and how they can build their confidence and experience in certain areas is going to be key in helping their applications to stand out from others.
- Encourage students to think about the types of job roles that they may be considering, and how their personal strengths could be attractive for a future employer.
- Help students to access work experience opportunities – these could be virtual or in-person – and don’t need to be the traditional 1 week of going into a workplace. Help them to consider who they might be able to approach to gain a few hours of experience, and also if they have a part-time job that can demonstrate their skills.
- Provide students with opportunities to hear from employers about what impresses them in applicants. Building a greater understanding of the skills and attributes employers are looking for can be really motivating for students to hear.
7. be ready for early vacancies
Some employers, particularly those with large intakes of apprentices, will start advertising as early as 1 year ahead of when the apprenticeship might start. It’s not unusual to see some vacancies advertised in the autumn term, with a start date of the following September.
- Help students to be ready to access these early opportunities. Ensure that they are looking at apprenticeship vacancies alongside working on their personal statements and any other applications that they might be making for College, Higher Education and Gap Years.
- Encourage students to submit their applications as soon as they are ready. If an employer is overwhelmed with applications, they may decide to close their recruitment window early, meaning that students could miss out if they are not ready.
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Look out for brilliant resources from Amazing Apprenticeships to help you to celebrate and recognise key events and campaigns during the term. Some of our favourite campaigns in the Autumn term that we will be releasing resources for include:
- National Coding Week
- National Inclusion Week
- National Care Leavers Week
- Tomorrow’s Engineer Week and
- The National Apprenticeship Awards
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