The 4 characteristics that employers look for in new apprentices

Published: 25 Jan 2018 By

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Andrew Dark is a Director at the custom printwear specialist Custom Planet. Here, he shares the four key qualities that employers like to see in new apprentices.

If you’re starting an apprenticeship soon, it's only natural that you'll want to do well, especially if it’s a chance to get your dream job. So, to give yourself the best possible chance of securing a fulltime role after you finish your apprenticeship, you'll need to demonstrate that you've got the potential to become a valuable asset to the company.

Here, I've shared the top four characteristics that employers tend to look for in apprentices, including what you'll need to do to impress your colleagues on the job.

A positive, can-do attitude

The most important quality that any employer will look for in a new apprentice is the desire to do well. Skills and experience can be learned, but a great attitude and a willingness to help can't be taught. That's why apprentices are often given simple, dull, or repetitive tasks to begin with: it's a test of your attitude, motivation, and commitment to the job.

Once you've proven you've got the right outlook, you'll eventually move up to more varied tasks, and could even be given more responsibility. So, if you really want to get ahead, having a positive attitude can soon lead to bigger and better things.

An ability to adapt and be versatile

During the initial stages of your apprenticeship, you’re likely to be given a wide variety of basic tasks to help you gain an understanding of the company and how it operates. This means you'll have to be adaptable, and ready to take on a new challenge every day, as you could be working with different people, machines, or equipment.

It also means you'll need to think on your feet, and be ready to switch tasks at a moment's notice. Once you've learned this, and gained some basic experience, you'll be ready to start training at a more specialised level.

Punctuality and commitment 

Your employer will learn a lot about your work ethic and reliability from your punctuality. If you're regularly calling in sick or late for work, your employer will begin to build a picture of you as a potentially unreliable employee, which could influence whether or not they decide to give you a fulltime contract at the end of your apprenticeship.

A sure-fire way to impress any employer during your training is to make sure you're always in the right place at the correct time. This will demonstrate that you respect your colleagues, and that you're invested in your potential future with the company.

Initiative and an ability to work independently

While apprentices are usually well-supervised, you won't always be monitored and watched every second of the day. Your mentor will want you to take the initiative to work independently and, as they're likely to have their own workload to manage, you'll need to be able to stand on your own two feet.

You'll need to show a strong work ethic so, if you finish one task, don’t wait to be given another — ask for more work. If you can demonstrate to your supervisors that you're keen to take on as much work as possible, they’ll be more likely to think of you as a hard-working and motivated employee. Remember, your colleagues are probably going to be consulted on your performance at the end of your apprenticeship, so showing your initiative to them could potentially help you secure a long-term contract.

Starting a new apprenticeship can seem intimidating, but remember that your employer is keen for you to do well and will offer as much support as possible. As long as you show your employer the qualities we've outlined here, you should have every chance of success in your apprenticeship. It could even become your dream job.

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