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The dos and don’ts of searching for an apprentice or trainee

Employers have various options when searching for qualified staff to fill key positions within organisations. However, when traditional recruitment avenues are failing to identify the right staff, businesses may decide apprenticeships and traineeships are the best way to address skills shortages.

If you’re considering apprentices and trainees for the first time, you may be wondering what skills, qualifications and personal characteristics are important. After all, candidates are unlikely to possess the same level of experience as employees who have been in your industry for many years.

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  • Discuss your vacancy
  • Assess available financial incentives
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  • Manage applicant pre-screening and testing
  • Provide a shortlist for interview

This is a FREE Recruitment Service and we will find the right person for your business.

Here are a few considerations to take into account while assessing potential apprentices and trainees for your organisation:

DON’T overvalue experience and qualifications

Obviously, experience and qualifications are two of the most important issues when recruiting for a position. Nevertheless, hiring managers may need to rethink their approach when assessing apprentices and trainees. Candidates may have very little previous experience or recognisable qualifications – these are what they hope to achieve through their placement.

DO look for passion and enthusiasm

What budding apprentices and trainees may lack in formal qualifications and previous workplace credentials, they should make up for with a positive attitude towards the role and your business. Identifying whether applicants would be a good cultural fit is also important, as apprenticeships and traineeships typically take between two and four years to complete, so applicants must assimilate well.

DON’T rely on traditional interview set-ups

Panel interviews, where one applicant faces a panel of interviewers, are often not the best way to assess apprentices and trainees. Similarly, the questions you would usually ask may need to be tailored to better suit vocational training. Consider group-based and task-oriented interviews that focus more on interpersonal qualities, practical abilities, potential leadership skills and how well they work in teams.

DO ask colleagues to help

The development of apprentices and trainees will be a task shared among many different people both inside and outside your organisation. You, as the hirer, may not be directly involved in their training, which is why you should try to include mentors and colleagues during your search efforts. They may have a better idea of the types of candidate who will fit in with current colleagues and workflows.

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