A personal story
My son Josh started college not really sure whether continuing within an education environment was right for him. Having just taken his GCSE's, he was extremely relieved that his exams were over and done with and any prospect of applying additional effort to find an Apprenticeship couldn't be further from his mind. The first few months of new-found freedom at college seemed to go well. He was making a positive impact and his completed assignments were achieving great marks. However, as the months progressed, Josh seemed to becoming less engaged and eventually he admitted that he wasn't enjoying his time at college as he felt he would be much happier 'learning and earning' at the same time. After a long chat, we established that an Apprenticeship route was the right pathway for him.
Initially, Josh was unsure of which type of Apprenticeship would suit him. To help him decide, we looked on the government website where there were some great guides available that offered fantastic support.
Once we established a few Apprenticeships that got him excited, we set about creating his CV. (I have created a CV guide that can support your son or daughter too).
Josh then started to look on-line at local Apprenticeship job opportunities, applying for the ones that really appealed to him. Along with attaching a CV, some application processes included on-line assessments and others required a cover letter (or e-letter), which I encouraged him to spend time to write himself (for additional support, download Tate Apprenticeships guide to writing a cover letter).
I explained to Josh that he needed to remain alert. He could receive a response from a prospective employer at any time, so he needed to be mindful of this to ensure that he was constantly impressing with every step he made through the job search process. I also explained to him that sadly, not every employer responds to every application they receive. Working in the recruitment industry myself, I appreciate that every job search comes with a roller coaster of emotions. I wanted to ensure I managed his expectations to retain and protect his high motivational state.
It took a few weeks but eventually he started to hear back from some of the applications he had made and he was invited to his first interview. A job interview can make the most confident adult feel nervous, so it's no wonder that they can be incredibly nerve-rattling for teen's (and of course us as parents too). Keen to ensure that Josh was making the right decision for his future, I decided to take a vested interest in researching the company that wanted to interview him and developed a preparation format that educated not only Josh, but me too. Being a little sneaky, I also wanted to see how Josh approached his preparation himself with a simple outline that I provided and that he could follow. Would he do the bare minimum or would his enthusiasm grow towards the job as he progressed through the research? If it was the latter, I knew I would feel confident that this was the right role and company for him.
I then researched the employers website and formulated the following questions for Josh to answer that would help educate him on the company history, the culture and the company values. I have removed the name of the employer but have attached the questions, as an example, that I gave Josh to support you with your son/daughter too.
I then sourced online the most commonly asked Apprenticeship interview questions and found 6 great examples, with guidelines, on how best to answer each question.
Where Josh had completed his research prior to attempting to answer the commonly asked interview questions, he naturally added in some of the information he had found out into his responses. This, if I am being completely honest, both completely shocked me and delighted me. There was no doubt in my mind that his enthusiasm had grown towards the company and the job from the research he had completed, leading me to feel that he would come across more confidently in his interview.
Finally, to ensure that he came across genuinely interested in the position and the employer, I asked him what questions he had for them. I explained to him that it was just as important that the job and the company was right for him as he was for them. After a few minor tweaks from me, he had 3 questions to ask them, they were;
Why do you like working for the company?
Can you tell me more about how the training will be delivered?
If I have been successful to the next stage, when can I expect to hear?
He wrote them down neatly in a note book which he took with him just in case he forgot them in his interview.
Needless to say, Josh walked into his interview with an air of confidence and created a great impression of himself to the employer. Three days later he was offered the job and there were smiles all round!
I hope that by sharing Josh's and my story with you, it will help provide a structure that will support your son/daughter present the best version of themselves and reassure you, as their parent, that they are making the right initial steps towards a bright future.