How to get employers to give you a chance as an apprentice or trainee

So, you’d like to get an apprenticeship or trainee role? That’s great news. Vocational skills are the lifeblood of many businesses. But, how do you get someone to take a chance on you when you don’t have any previous work experience?

Well, it comes down to two key things:

  1. Knowing what it takes to stand out from the crowd and
  2. Being able to communicate why the employer should take you on.

Standing out from the crowd when you’re up against other people who might look a lot like you do on paper can be a challenge. But it is doable, says Kate Byrdy, Group Human Resources Manager at Bakers Delight. “As an apprentice or trainee, you will be required to learn from the ground up. Demonstrating an ability to learn new skills, as well as listening to and following instructions, will be instrumental in your success in the role,” says Byrdy. “Consider what examples you can provide that highlight these abilities.”

Some of the best ways to boost your chances of capturing the attention of an employer include:

  • Understanding your unique selling points. We all have Unique Selling Points or USPs. Sit down with friends, family and former employers if you have them and ask them to name your top three strengths. For example, you may be efficient, outgoing and driven. Think of examples in your personal life where you have illustrated these strengths and spell them out using examples. Find out more here.
  • Create a resume. Employers offering apprenticeships and traineeships accept that you may have very little paid work experience. But you do have skills. Perhaps you’ve completed a pre-apprenticeship, studied tech or hospitality at school, worked at your dad’s company in the holidays, or learned how to construct things at Scouts or Girl Guides. Include achievements such as awards or projects you managed at school. It could simply be that you worked part-time for a year to go on a school trip, which shows you have determination.
  • Present well. Although applying for a trade, it’s essential to dress professionally and look clean and tidy. Presentation also includes ensuring there are no spelling or grammar mistakes in your resume, says Byrdy. This is especially important in a role such as baking where attention to detail is needed.
  • Be enthusiastic. Even if you don’t get the first apprenticeship, you will get one if you keep trying. “Enthusiasm is so important in apprentices,” Byrdy says. “Someone who is enthusiastic, energetic and passionate about bread and creating products will get employed. Once you’ve captured the attention of a potential employer, now it’s time to convince them to take you on. Remember, while you may not have a lengthy resume, you might be surprised by how much you can truly offer.

Here are some key talking points you might want to consider:

  • You cost less. If you’re a trainee or apprentice, your employer can often get a government incentive or subsidy for employing you, which makes you more desirable.
  • You can be trained. Employers like the fact you have a clean slate and can bring fresh eyes and enthusiasm to the role. It’s a bonus. Remember they know that you won’t have bad habits picked up at other organisations if this is your first job. This gives them the opportunity to shape you into the employee they need at their organisation.
  • You are likely to be more loyal. Employers know that offering traineeships and apprenticeships often translates into loyalty and longevity. Byrdy sees this at Bakers Delight. Once qualified, the franchise’s bakers often move around working for the brand in Australia, New Zealand and Canada and have even gone onto management roles and bought their own franchises.

Finding yourself the right apprenticeship isn’t always as difficult as you may think, you just need to make sure you’re selling yourself says Byrdy. Start exploring your options today.