When is the best time of year to engage students with your apprenticeship opportunities?

At UCAS we want to use the knowledge we’ve learned from over 30 years of supporting students, helping you promote your apprenticeship opportunities effectively.

47% of our audience are considering an apprenticeship alongside thinking about university

Traditional study application deadlines in October and January

There are a couple of important deadlines for students who want to study at university immediately after they’ve completed their A Levels.

These are times when they’re interested in exploring all options and are more focused on their future – so the weeks leading up to these deadlines are great times to contact students. Plus, students are fine to apply for apprenticeships at the same time as they apply through UCAS for university courses.

For courses starting in 2022, the deadline was 26 January

So, planning ahead, for courses starting in 2023, these are the next application deadlines:

  • 15 October 2022 for the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, as well as most courses in medicine, veterinary medicine/science, and dentistry
  • 25 January 2023 for all other UCAS Undergraduate courses

Around these times, here’s the sort of thing you should consider saying to students

  • There are various routes to different careers – have you thought about a degree apprenticeship?
  • You’re free to apply to apprenticeship vacancies alongside your UCAS application to universities and colleges.
  • With an apprenticeship you can both learn and earn, gaining work experience while earning a salary and studying for a degree.

Read why Alex and Conor chose to study an apprenticeship

Alex and Conor, apprentices at Airbus Group

“There aren’t many opportunities where you get paid to study.”

Summer, when some students are looking for other options

Applicants typically find out in August whether they’ve gained a place at one of the universities they were hoping for – based on the grades they get from their post-16 qualifications.

So summer is a good time to contact them about apprenticeships, as those who don’t get the results they need may be ready to take on other opportunities.

If you’re able to raise awareness of your brand and your apprenticeship vacancies in the lead up to summer, even better. A lot of students may have you on their radar already, or even have applied to one of your apprenticeships when they made their university choices.

Now. Make the most of National Apprenticeship Week

Potential apprentices will probably have more awareness around National Apprenticeship Week than at other times of year. And having multiple touch points throughout the year is the best way to raise awareness of your brand and your apprenticeships.

Also, the main application deadline for undergraduate university courses was very recent – 26 January 2022 – so there’s even more reason to contact students now, as they’ll be thinking about their future options.

Raise awareness all year round

Speaking of multiple touch points, if your organisation is looking to recruit apprentices at certain times of year, it’ll be cheaper in the long run to have a relevant pool of candidates by continuously promoting your apprenticeships.

Also, make sure your data includes students who are interested in apprenticeships, even if they’re not ready to apply yet. Then they’ll be ready to come your way if their UCAS application doesn’t go to plan, or if they decide an apprenticeship is a better fit for them.

Read our 8 ways to optimise your apprenticeship recruitment

Kate Ross, L&D Leader at IBM

“We’re looking at outreach events in our industry like UK Black Tech and Lesbians Who Tech. These events are just dying for employers to come and show people what they have on offer.”

Go to apprenticeship and diversity events

There are various apprenticeship recruitment events you could add to your calendar. Make sure you have a presence wherever you can and gather the details of the curious people who aren’t ready to apply yet.

Promote your opportunities alongside traditional study options

An easy way to get your apprenticeships front and centre is to situate them alongside university course descriptions – so, conveniently, right here on ucas.com! 700,000 young people join UCAS every year, and over 70,000 visit our apprenticeship and graduate job search every month.

During the key times of the year for recruiting apprentices, make sure you have your apprenticeship vacancies posted on our apprenticeship and graduate job search to ensure the best uptake. We have free job listings for apprenticeships, as well as employer profiles to show candidates what your organisation would be like to work for.


Contact us if you’d like some help
If you’re looking to make the most of your recruitment campaigns, our teams can propose the best kind of activity for you.