What Skills are Reasonably Expected in Apprenticeship Candidates?

Employers need to be aware that applicants will not necessarily have specific technical skills when they are applying. Doubly so for younger people with little or no experience in the workplace.

Candidates that can demonstrate basic skills and qualities are what employers should be looking for. Qualities that show they are suitable for learning the job for which they are training for on the apprenticeship scheme.

During interviews and assessment days, and on application forms, employers should look for the following in potential apprentices:

Good spelling, grammar and punctuation

Communication is important during an apprenticeship, more so if the role is client-facing. Also, a level of care and commitment is demonstrated when the potential apprentice has taken the time to proofread the application.

Work ethic

Younger people are able to show they have a good work ethic if they have taken on Saturday jobs, paper rounds, charity work, taking on responsibilities at school or an organisation.


Motivation is what gets someone through the difficult parts of any process, and enthusiasm is a big part of that. Younger people who have not had full time jobs before need enthusiasm to get out of bed every morning, and push themselves to learn new skills.

Industry-specific skills

These don’t have to be particularly technical (remember – a young person will have limited on-the-job experience), but employers should make sure any applicant has the basics needed for that specific apprenticeship programme.

Interpersonal skills and team-work

It’s vital that apprentices are able to work as part of a team and build good working relationships with co-workers.

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