Looking for amazing apprentices? Here’s how to find them

Thursday 11 November 2021, UCAS advice


Looking for amazing apprentices? Here’s how to find them

To attract motivated, high-quality apprentices who can add excellent value to your business, take the time to think about their wants and needs from the very start.

We’re talking about the awareness of your brand, your apprenticeships, the support you offer, and what it’s like to work in your organisation. School leavers need to know about these things from a younger age, so they can choose their subjects accordingly and consider apprenticeships alongside the other higher education options.

Bring your apprenticeship programmes to life

We know applicants have a much lower awareness of higher and degree apprenticeships than they do of traditional university and college learning experiences. So we’re working to raise awareness – providing students with information, advice, and guidance that makes it easier for them to consider the various options. This is something employers can help with too.

From social connections and brand awareness to job ads and recruitment events, there are many ways to showcase your apprenticeships. The more ways the better!

Our UCAS Media team can help you reach our student audience, which has over 700K new registrations each year. As well as promoting your apprenticeships on ucas.com, you can exhibit at our virtual apprenticeship events, and use our data and campaign support to reach potential apprentices – and much more.

Take a look at our student marketing opportunities

Communicate through multiple touch points

This helps you to raise and reinforce awareness – particularly in this case, where potential candidates are getting familiar with both the apprenticeships model, and your organisation, at the same time. Many apprentices are school leavers, who may be less familiar with your brand, but as younger people they’re more likely to consume lots of content. So it’s a great opportunity for you to connect.

“Get people hooked into your brand”

“Regardless of sector and types or levels of apprenticeships you might be hiring into, candidates who have multiple touch points – through content that’s through SMS, email, events, pragmatic ads, alerts or on social channels – are more likely to be hired. They are also the people that will become advocates for your brand, so it’s a great way to get people hooked into your brand.”

Daniel Doherty, Junior Lateral Recruitment Pillar Lead, Cognizant

Tell real apprentice stories

There’s detail needed very early on – from real apprentices who can tell their stories. This kind of story and narrative building is so helpful, not only to feed into the growing reputation of apprenticeships, but also to showcase the values of your brand, how you help people and what you offer to your workforce.

Go to schools

Ask young professionals at your organisation to give talks on what it’s like to work in your organisation, and how this employment can be combined with education in an apprenticeship. Through UCAS you can access schools and students at a younger age to explain how your apprenticeships work – they really want to know what they’re like day to day.

Go to education and careers events

Ask them to speak at events too – in different parts of the country, to people with different backgrounds, and at diversity events, as having a broad workforce helps employers to modernise and grow. It’s worth noting that BAME apprentices are currently underrepresented at 14%.

Apprentices can be at the forefront of business change, and as with any team, having representation can only be a good thing for the future of your organisation.

“Our best spokespeople for the company”

“Get your early professionals to go back to their schools, to go out to events, and talk to people who were in their shoes a year ago. We find they’re probably our best spokespeople for the company.

“And diversity events really help us attract the right people into the programme. So in addition to the schools, we’re looking at events like UK Black Tech and Lesbians Who Tech – there are so many outreach events in our industry, and I’m sure in every industry there are similar kinds of diversity outreach events. These events are just dying for employers to come and show people what they have on offer.”

Kate Ross, L&D Leader, Foundation Manager on the IBM Early Professionals Programme

Provide the facts they need as early as Year 9

While engagement with your brand and the value of apprenticeships is important, applicants are also looking for the factual information they need, from salaries and job descriptions to the detail of what life is like on your apprenticeship programme.

They’re ideally looking for this information no later than in Year 9, so they can make more informed decisions before they choose their GCSE subjects.

How UCAS can help you

You can list your apprenticeship vacancies on our Career Finder for free.

Over 700K young people join UCAS every year to consider their options for the future

And having a presence on ucas.com doesn’t just act as another touch point, it’s also a way to provide the facts of your apprenticeships alongside the traditional routes into university.

You can also set up your employer profile as another way to promote your organisation to young people who may not be familiar with you. There’s a free version to get you started, or an enhanced profile to bring your organisation to life through rich media, case studies and testimonials.

We’ve seen interest in apprenticeship rise from 10% to 47% over the last four years

So to help we’ve made our links to apprenticeships on ucas.com more explicit, and we’re simplifying the application journey. There’s no limit on how many apprenticeship applications a student can make (on top of their five traditional university choices) – and over the next year we’ll be boosting our content on the apprenticeship options, how to find one and making applications easier.

Please get in touch to find out how we can help your organisation recruit the right apprentices for your roles.