Applying for an apprenticeship on the National Apprenticeship Vacancy (NAV) website is a relatively simple task but can be daunting if you haven’t done it before.
Earn as you learn
Being taken on as an apprentice is a great opportunity to obtain relevant qualifications for your career of choice, while at the same time getting practical experience in the workplace – and getting paid for it.
Anyone who is over 16 and living in England can apply for an apprenticeship, providing you are not already in full-time education.
With more than 22,000 vacancies on the NAV website, you have a good chance of finding an apprenticeship to suit you.
How do I fill in the NAV application form online?
The NAV website recommends that you use one of the following browsers on your computer for the best results:
Windows: Internet Explorer 7, 8 or 9, Google Chrome (latest version) or Mozilla Firefox (latest version)
Mac OS X: Safari 5, Google Chrome (latest version) or Mozilla Firefox (latest version)
You can also fill out the form via the Android or iPhone NAV app.
If at any point you get stuck, you can call the Apprenticeship vacancy helpline on: 024 7682 6482.
Log on to: www.apprenticeships.org.uk and click on Login to Apprenticeship vacancies – this is found on the home page, top left corner. In the next window, click on Register Now, so that you can create your personal account.
When filling in your details, be aware that anywhere you see an asterix (a star like this *) next to a section means you must fill it in.
After filling in your name, add your date of birth, making sure that you include the full year. So if you were born on 20 September 1995, you would write it as: 20/09/1995.
An address, email address and telephone number are all essential so that potential employers can contact you.
If you don’t know your postcode, there is a link to the Royal Mail site, where you can enter your street address to find out your postcode.
Make sure you fill in an email address that you use and can access regularly as you don’t want to miss an important email from an employer. Bear in mind that employers will be using your email address, so if it’s jokey or inappropriate you may want to create a new email account with a more sensible name.
Create a User Name and a password. Make sure that you choose a User Name you will remember – write it down somewhere safe if this helps. Again, choose something sensible so that you don’t put off employers.
The password you choose must be between 8 and 20 characters and it must include a capital letter, a number and a special character (for example % or &).
Once you have registered, go into your email and click on the link that will be sent to you to activate your account. If you can’t see the email, check your junk folder just in case.
Each time you visit the site you will need to log in with your User Name and password.
You will be taken to the My Home page, where you’ll see the following boxes:
My Saved Vacancies
My Saved Searches
Search for Vacancies
From your home page, click on Application Form in the side bar.
The first section covers your education and qualifications. If you have already written a CV (see our blog on How to write a great CV), you can use this to fill in the details.
It doesn’t matter if you haven’t been in education for a while, or if you haven’t yet had all your exam results – you can add these to the section marked ‘Other qualifications or training undertaken’, along with any achievements in areas such as sport, music, drama, or specialist awards such as Duke of Edinburgh awards.
Add in your paid and unpaid work under ‘Work Experience/History – anything from a Saturday job or babysitting to volunteering at a local hospice or arts festival.
Make sure you start with the most recent and work backwards. In each case you’ll need dates and employer or other contact details.
The ‘About You’ section is one of the most important. Take some time to write a full description in each box, as they cover such areas as your strengths, achievements and hobbies, and will be of interest to any potential employer.
You have a total count of 4,000 characters in each of the boxes, which is the same as a UCAS personal statement or around a page and a half of typed standard A4 paper.
As well as listing your strengths, try to think of occasions when you have shown them. For example, if one of your strengths is teamwork, give an example, such as working on a stock take in a shop while doing a Saturday job, or helping to raise money for charity by organising a car-washing day with a group of friends.
When it comes to the section on ‘What personal skills would you like to improve’ you can tailor these to the job in hand. For example, if you are applying for jobs in IT, you could say that while you already have a strong interest in and understanding of various types of computer software, you are looking to improve your knowledge of the latest programming techniques.
The box offering support for the interview is where you can list any help you need such as if you have a disability. If you don’t need any help, make sure you put something in the box to show that you’ve seen it, such as ‘No thank you’ or ‘Not applicable’.
When filling out the ‘Hobbies’ box, be aware that the employer may want to chat to you about anything you list, so there’s no point in saying that you play football for a local team if you only played once or stopped your involvement a long time ago. Better to think about interests that you could confidently chat about in an interview situation – and make sure you don’t give the impression of being a party animal as the employer may presume you will be unreliable at work.
The ‘Monitoring’ section is straightforward and is voluntary to fill in.
Then you will be ready to click on ‘Save’.
Click on Search for Vacancies to see the apprenticeships uploaded by employers. You can tailor your search in various ways, including by the type of apprenticeship, the employer, and the location .
Once you have found the apprenticeship(s) that interest you, you can then apply online. You can apply for up to 10 apprenticeships at any one time.
It’s important to spend some time on each application as employers will not only be looking at your qualifications and eligibility but also at how you express yourself and whether you have taken care over your grammar and punctuation.
You can also use the information in the job advert to help you write your application – for example if the vacancy says they are looking for someone with good communication skills, you can mention examples of when you have shown your ability in this area. It can be a good idea to print off the job and highlight all the key phrases that show what the employer is looking for.
Finally, the employer will be allowed to ask two additional questions on the form – make sure you look out for these and take your time to answer them thoughtfully, as they will have chosen them carefully to help them select the best candidates for the position.
Set up email and text alerts by clicking on My Alerts – this will ensure you find out as soon as possible about new vacancies that match what you are looking for.
Using the ‘Manage your Applications’ tab on the side of the NAV website, you can keep track of what you have applied for and find out if you have been shortlisted for any of your preferred apprenticeships.
If you are shortlisted, the employer will usually contact you by phone. This will also give them the opportunity to find out more about you and whether you are able to talk confidently and clearly on the phone – particularly important for any customer-facing role. If you find it difficult to talk on the phone, it might be worth practising your technique with a friend or family member in advance.
Hopefully you will then progress to a face-to-face assessment or interview – and from there you may be offered the apprenticeship.