Check these websites and forums at least once a week

Note: Some of these are aimed at students who have finished their GCSEs and some, for those who have finished Level 3 qualifications (sometimes called school or college leaver schemes).

Social Media

Posting on your own social media network platforms, that you are looking for vacancies is a great start… who knows who you may reach! Just make sure your online profile and social media feeds, presents you in a positive light (no rude & crude comments or offensive memes).

  • Top Tip: It is worth editing your profile if needed before you post, so you present yourself in the best way possible.

“Real life” network

Don’t forget to talk to personal contacts (such as friends & family) to find out who they know and if they can link you up with potential employers you could speak to.

Company Websites

Many large companies advertise on their OWN specialist websites or social media but require searching the internet with “phrase searches” to find: {insert name of company} Careers or {insert name of company} Apprenticeships”.

Sector Specific Websites

Some companies also use sector specific websites such as and to advertise vacancies.

Some of these websites can be found by searching the sector specific websites at the end of each job profile at: If you require help finding these, speak to your nearest independent careers adviser.

Speculative CVs

You can approach employers who aren’t advertising with a CV (in person, via email or a letter) to see if they can offer you a job; this is called a “Speculative CV”. Speak to teachers, mentors, or qualified careers advisers if you need help writing a CV. Have a look at the following to help:

Make sure to include a covering letter with your CV, explaining what you are seeking. This guide will help you:

  • Top Tip: Taking your CV in person can really help you stand out and show your commitment and enthusiasm.

CV Parsing

Some CVs will be read by a computer (Parsing) and others in person so tailor your CV accordingly; this link from Indeed explains how CV Parsing works: Generally, larger organisations and some recruiters will use CV Parsing, whereas small businesses are more likely to have a person read your CV.

  • Top Tip: If your CV is more likely to be read by a person, make your CV visually appealing (such as adding graphics and/or colour) and consider printing it on slightly heavier good quality paper so, it stands out. However, if read by a computer, make sure it is easier to read with no graphics, use the same font throughout and if printed, use standard weight printer paper.

Finding Employers to Approach

You can find employers to contact via internet searches or on sites such as but think creatively when you do this. E.g., those wanting to find an apprenticeship as a hairdresser, could contact large hotels and health spas, not just local hairdressing salons.

Don’t forget to search adverts in newspapers, shop windows and online such as and Remember to also search specialist recruitment agencies (for example those in the cruise ship sector): To find these specialist recruiters just search online, using a phrase search (as above).


Follow up every CV with phone calls and/or visits to show how keen you are! Take the time to research and get to know the employers you are contacting; building relationships is important to potential success.

Work Experience/Volunteering

Consider offering to work for free (volunteer) for a week to show them how good YOU are! It may land you the apprenticeship but if not, will give you further work experience for your CV (increasing your chances of finding work or an opportunity later). This guide will help you with finding work experience:

Job Interviews

If you get that job interview, use this guide to help get you ready:

Before or during your interview, you may be asked to complete a psychometric test, especially if applying to a larger employer. This guide will help you prepare for these:

Found an Employer

If you have found an employer who is prepared to take you on but, they haven’t got a training provider lined up, give them this link: so they can find a suitable provider.

This also provides ratings of how good each provider is and, how successful their training has been.

  • Top Tip: Some employers (not all) may provide you with a choice, on which training provider you would like to use so, it is worth having a look at the above link for yourself before discussing with your employer.

These links will help your employer with costs regards funding your apprenticeship:

Supported Apprenticeships and Employment (for those with SEND)

If you have Special Educational Needs or Disabilities (SEND), additional support with accessing apprenticeships is available, including with regards numeracy and literacy entry requirements, access support and guidance here:

Back-up plans

Keep on trying but consider your time frame for backup plans. Some choose to take a pre-apprenticeship option such as a traineeship, or similar work-related schemes (such as informal training “in-house” whilst working at a part-time job):

Others attend sixth form or college or use online courses such as: to build their skills and knowledge.

Travel and working whilst travelling is another way to also build useful skills which, may help later:

For students aged 24 and under, with Special Educational Needs or Disabilities (SEND) and an EHC plan, a supported internship maybe an option:

These are all different ways to build your employability skills and improve your chances of finding an apprenticeship. If you are unsure of your options or need further support, contact your careers adviser in school or college. Alternatively contact the National Careers Service: 0800 100 900 or contact them online.


Written by Chris Targett, CXK Area Manager and Careers Adviser.

December 2022