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Top interview tips for apprentices

26/9/2016

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An interview for an apprenticeship can naturally be a daunting prospect, after all the outcome could determine your future career. However, if you’re fully prepared you’ll give yourself the best chance of securing that coveted role. Here’s our top tips on how to prepare for and conduct yourself at an interview.

Do your homework

Research the company you’ve applied to work for and make sure you’re familiar with the job role. Have a look at the website, find out the type of work it does and the number of people it employs. It shows you’re interested in what could potentially be your new employer, and that you’re organised, enthusiastic and willing to learn. Additionally, you may be asked a question by your interviewer about the company or the role, and if you don’t know the answer it could throw you off track.

Practice

If you’re not used to it, practice speaking out loud and ask a friend or family member to play the role of the interviewer. It will help build your confidence ahead of speaking to what could potentially be several people at the interview. It’s also useful to consider the questions you might be asked and think about the answers. You don’t want to sound too rehearsed, but it’s important you’ve given it some thought and that you’re comfortable.

Be on time

Plan your transport and route beforehand, and if it’s somewhere you’ve never been before it’s a good idea to do a practice run in advance. On the day of the interview, set off in plenty of time but if you are delayed for a reason out of your control, such as a traffic accident, make sure you have the contact details of the person you’re meeting with so you can let them know what time you’ll be there. All employers value punctuality.

Dress to impress

Make sure you’re suitably smart. Plan what you’re going to wear so you won’t have to spend valuable time before your interview rushing to get ready, time that should be spent feeling relaxed but focused. First impressions count, and turning up to an interview looking presentable will help you score top marks.

Be organised

Check you have everything you might need, such as hard copies of your CV, references or any examples of previous work you’ve mentioned in your application. It will show you’re prepared and organised.  Another good tip is to prepare some questions of your own; even if they get answered throughout the course of the interview, showing that you’ve considered them in advance will leave a favourable impression.

Feedback

Even if you aren’t successful, ask for feedback to help you next time if necessary. It may be the role wasn’t quite the right fit, something you said or a gap in skills.

Apprenticeship Levy: Be prepared

26/8/2016

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With approximately eight months to go until businesses see a percentage of their payroll deducted to help fund apprenticeships across the UK, the government has released further guidelines on how the new Apprenticeship Levy will work in practice.

Although some employers had anticipated a delay to the levy in light of the result of the Brexit vote in June, it has been confirmed that the new scheme will take effect from April 6, 2017.

The initial announcement last December revealed businesses whose annual wage bills exceed £3m per year will be charged at a rate of 0.5 per cent of their total payroll, with an allowance of £15,000 per year to offset costs. For example, if your wage bill is £5m, you’ll need to pay £10,000 into the levy pot.

The latest announcement says:

  • The levy will be paid to HMRC through the PAYE system and businesses will be able to access funding through their own digital apprenticeship account.
  • The account will contain the funds which will be used to pay training providers to deliver apprenticeships, and is set to go live in January 2017 to allow employers time to familiarise themselves with the new system.
  • Non-levy payers will be affected by the changes too, with the government proposing that small businesses should receive financial help to pay for training, enabling them to apply for 90 per cent of costs and pay the remaining 10 per cent themselves.
  • In addition, businesses with fewer than 50 employees will be encouraged to take on young apprentices, following the proposal that there should be no cost to train those aged between 16 and 18.

The government is currently seeking views on its latest proposals, with confirmation and further details expected in October and December.

There’s no doubt the levy will encourage employers to make the most of apprenticeships and help to improve skills. However, businesses must be prepared ahead of April and not be tempted to make decisions for the sake of spending the levy, but be equipped with a strategy.

For advice on how to prepare for the Apprenticeship Levy, contact Jigsaw Training on 01772 430004 or info@jigsaw-training.co.uk.

An insight into an apprenticeship, by an apprentice

30/7/2016

Megan Pollington

There’s no better way to get under the skin of apprenticeships than speaking to an apprentice. In this blog, we hear from Jigsaw Training’s Megan Pollington to get her perspective.

What made you choose an apprenticeship?

I was working as a hair stylist but decided I wanted to pursue office administration instead. However, without the relevant qualifications or experience, I felt stuck. When I spotted Jigsaw Training’s vacancy for an advanced apprenticeship in business administration, I applied straightaway.

Can you describe a typical day?

I have a wide range of duties and responsibilities, such as dealing with enquiries via telephone and email, providing administration support to tutors and learners, as well as data entry. There’s a good balance between working and learning, so no two days are ever the same.

What are the benefits?

The best thing about doing an apprenticeship is that you get paid to learn, while developing useful skills to help further your career. I’m really enjoying my role and value the opportunity to learn something new every day.

Any advice for people looking to do an apprenticeship?

I would say to go for it. If you want to achieve new qualifications but need to be earning money at the same time, an apprenticeship is the perfect way to do this. It could also help you embark on a new career path, or get to the next level in an existing role.

What’s next for you?

Once I’ve completed my apprenticeship, I hope to secure a full time administration role with Jigsaw Training. If I can achieve that, it means the apprenticeship will have provided me with a new career, and new opportunities.

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