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Apprenticeships – What are they all about?

What is an Apprenticeship?

Working as an apprentice means you will gain a free qualification plus hands on work experience working for a local employer while normally attending college 1 day a week.

It is a great way to gain experience, complete additional studies / qualifications while being paid to do so.

Any employer can hire an apprentice, ensuring the job is relevant to your studies and the employer will ensure you gain hands on training with experienced staff and receive time off for studying.

There are different levels of apprenticeship.

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, they are:

  • Intermediate (Level 2 – GCSE standard)
  • Advanced (Level 3 – A Levels standard)
  • Higher (Levels 4,5,6 and 7 – foundation degree or above)
  • Degree (Levels 6 and 7 – bachelor’s or master’s degree)

In Scotland, they are:

  • Foundation (mostly SCQF Level 6 – Highers standard)
  • Modern (mostly SCQF levels 6 and 7 – Highers of Advanced Highers standard)
  • Graduate (SCQF Levels 9, 10 and 11 – Undergraduate or master’s degree standard)

Popular Apprenticeships:

People often do apprenticeships if they know the career they want or if they are already working within their chosen career but want to gain more skills.

The most popular apprenticeships in England last year were within business and administration followed closely by construction and then health and construction.

Some known companies who support apprenticeships are British military, BT and Amazon.

Last year in England there was over 750,000 apprenticeships with the government wanting to see numbers increasing year on year.

How do you get an Apprenticeship?

There are many ways you can search and apply for an apprenticeship, most companies would advertise these directly for you to apply online. There is also dedicated sites for advertising apprenticeships and most universities and colleges will be able to assist with apply and sourcing apprenticeship opportunities.

Some companies will interview apprenticeships before you start, and you will need to pass assessment showing what you have learnt before completing and passing the qualification.

What can you earn while doing an apprenticeship?

If you are under 19 or if you are 19 or older but in the first year of your apprenticeship, you are entitled to the apprentice rate of £6.40 per hour.

After this time you will be entitled to the national living wage for your age group as a minimum.

£8.60 per hour for 19- and 20-year-olds.

£11.44 for those aged 21 and above.

Depending on the employer, you could earn above these amounts however the rates above detail the legal minimum requirement you would earn.

There are current campaigns to have the apprentice rate increased to national minimum wage, however this is on-going at present.

Apprenticeships are a great way to earn while you learn, gain a qualification along with the hands on experience.

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Labour Market Overview

UK unemployment rate increased again to 4.2%, 1.440 million people unemployed
Unemployment amongst young people remains high, particularly the youngest age group (aged 16-17 = 26.2% / aged 18-24 = 11%) Employment rate was largely unchanged at 74.5%, 32.98 million people employed
UK economic inactivity rate was slightly up on the last quarter at 22.2%, higher than 12 months ago due to an increase in 16 to 34 years olds, which was slightly offset by a decrease in those aged 35 to 49
9.40 million people are economically inactive, an increase of 275,000 on last year and 853,000 higher than pre-pandemic levels Vacancies fell again to 916,000, the 21st consecutive period fall, down 13,000 from previous quarter, but higher than pre-covid levels.
There were 1.6 unemployed people per vacancy in December 2023 to February 2024, up from 1.4 as a result of vacancies falling and unemployment increasing Payrolled employees for March 2024 was 30.3 million, a rise of 0.7% compared to last year.
This is a rise of 204,000 over the last 12 months. 1.27 million higher than pre-pandemic levels Annual growth in regular pay without bonus increased by 6.0%, and with bonus by 5.6%. Adjusted for inflation, annual growth regular pay was 1.9% and total pay was 1.6% 6.41 million people were claiming Universal Credit in January 2024.
This has increased from 5.79 million in January 2023 and is more than twice as high as pre-pandemic levels.
There are currently 1.44 million people searching for work Redundancies decreased 9.3 per thousand employees, 0.8 higher than last year 106,000 working days lost because of labour disputes in February, mainly in health and social care    
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Have you had your National Minimum Wage increases from your partnered agency?

With the National and living wage set to increase on the 1st of April 2024, recruitment agencies are currently in the process of re-visiting costings to reflect the increase in pay to workers.

So, have you had your new prices through and were they what you were expecting?

With the living wage increasing by a significant amount of £1.02, this is the biggest jump we have witnessed in history so now more then ever is the time to sit down and discuss what you are paying for and the service you receive from your current agency.

Price is very much an important factor when it comes looking at agencies, but having the cheapest charge rate does not always guarantee you are getting the best service and productivity for your money.

Full Transparency on Rates:

Here at Direct Response, we pride ourselves on giving complete transparency on our costs, providing each of our clients a complete break down so you can see exactly what you are paying for.

Often when using agency workers, you have to not just think of the pay to the workers but the additional costs on top including national and pension contributions, holiday pay, sickness pay and the profit and overheads of the agency.

Direct Response can provide you with a full break down on costs, using the Association of Labour providers calculator which means we are transparent, clear, fair and remain compliant as an agency.

A Great Service:

We pride ourselves on offering a great service to both our clients and candidates, we ensure temporary workers receive the right pay for the work they do, including holiday, sickness, and pension contributions.

We value our clients and work hard in getting to know their business, to us it is not just filling a position, we want to ensure we find the right person for the business providing you with the best productivity of temporary workers with a great service.

Next Steps:

 So maybe now is the time to think about your temporary workforce, if you would like to have a friendly chat or curious to see some breakdown in rates, then get in touch we would love to talk to you.

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Handling Rejection

We have all been there at some point, the dreaded rejection letter, email, or phone call. It is never a pleasant experience, particularly if you have faced several rejections so far in your job search, it can be easy to feel dejected and disheartened.

You may have been well prepared for the interview and felt that it went very positively, yet the final outcome was not you were expecting. This can be frustrating.

It is important to remember that the way you handle rejection is just as important as the skills on your CV when it comes to securing a new role. If you allow rejection to knock your confidence and make you doubt your abilities, it could negatively affect your performance in future interviews.

If a rejection email does come into your inbox, here a few things to remember to help you remain positive, optimistic, and motivated.

Don’t take it personal.

It is easy to take rejection to heart and blame your abilities or interview technique on your failure to get the job. Try not to read too much into your rejection, these decisions are rarely based solely on your performance. If you prepared fully and tried your best, there is little else you could have done.

Many of the reasons behind hiring decisions will not be made apparent to you. You may have performed excellently, but there could be other factors at play.

If you didn’t get the job, there may have been a very strong internal candidate who is already familiar with the business, or another candidate with slightly more relevant experience than you. These are things you cannot change, they are beyond your control.

Never assume that everything you are doing is wrong because you did not get the job. It is perfectly acceptable to politely ask the recruiter or employer for more detailed feedback about your interview in order to help you improve. 

Interview feedback can sometimes be bland and unhelpful, so do seek out other genuinely useful feedback where possible. You could seek the advice of an HR professional or try out a mock interview in order to practice and get some constructive criticism.

Recruiters always follow up on interviews and give feedback to candidates wherever possible. However, we are only able to pass on the feedback that is provided to us  which is not always forthcoming from busy employers.
 

Approach each new job opportunity with a fresh perspective and a positive attitude. Tailor your CV to best match a new opportunity and fully research and prepare for a new interview. 

If you made mistakes or felt unprepared in your last interview learn from this, but do not keep it at the forefront of your mind, it will only make you nervous. 

Every client and hiring manager are different and will have a different view of the ‘ideal candidate.’ Keep a fresh approach while remaining true to your personality and experience.

Your confidence can take a hit when you get a rejection, so it is important to work hard at keeping your morale and motivation levels buoyant.

Especially if you are not in current employment, it is a good idea to keep your skills sharpened and your experience up to date. 

If a recent interview didn’t go your way, don’t worry! There’s plenty more jobs out there.

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Why we love recruitment

We can change people’s lives. There’s nothing quite like the feeling you experience when you match the ideal candidate with their dream job. As a recruiter, it’s our job to coach, mentor, and guide our applicants throughout the entire hiring process and help them find the career they’ve been looking for.

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New Year New Opportunities

The start of a New Year means new starts for many of us which is why January and February are the most popular and busiest months of the year for job seekers and employers alike.

The first two months of the New Year is a great time to be applying and interviewing for a new job.  January is the time of year when the greatest number of decision makers are in office so you’re more likely to get a quick response from sending your CV in for a role or for an interview.

Some companies, new budgets come into force in January so all those roles which were put on hold during November and December are finally getting recruited for!

Direct Response Employment Services are here to help and take the stress out of job hunting and recruitment for you. We pride ourselves on being an approachable, friendly agency who can offer advice and guidance in a professional and confidential environment.

Register your CV with us online now or call the office on 01225 776500

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Job Interview – The follow up

With employers interviewing multiple candidates for one position it is important that candidates interviewing make a great first impression but that first impression is just as important as the follow up after your interview.

The interview is complete, you felt it went well and you are keen on securing the position so what do you do now. We have included a quick template for you to send to the employer, following your interview.

If you would like further tips then get in touch with one of our consultants, we would love to support you on your journey in securing your dream role.

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Key signs it’s time to look for a new job!

It happens to all of us, and we are all entitled to an off day at work but what’s the difference between one of those off days to a mere sign you need to start looking for a new job!

  1. You complain about your work:

You often find yourself complaining about work to either colleagues, friends, or family. When you talk about work there seems to be more negatives than positives. If you are finding it hard to feel positive about work in general and feel you constantly need to let of steam or complain then perhaps its a sign to look for pastures new.

  • Those Monday Blues:

We all have them; you have just had a relaxing and enjoyable weekend then reality hits and its back to work for another week. Everyone experiences this from time to time but if you are dreading going in to work each Monday and you feel anxious about the prospect of going to work each week then maybe it is something more than those Monday Blues.

  • The challenge:

Everyone needs to be kept motivated in their job role, its that motivation that makes us ensure we do a fantastic job but what if that is lacking and simply you find you are not being challenged enough. If you are finding the position boring or find yourself twiddling your fingers a lot throughout the day perhaps a new challenge is in order.

  • The almighty career ladder:

Are you wanting to build on your career, build your skillset and gain more experience and feel you have learnt everything you possibly can in your current position? Maybe progression is on the cards, but what if there is no progression in your current job. Lack of progression or lack of a clear path to your career goals could mean its time to switch up and change.

  • Company Struggles:

You love your job and your colleagues and you enjoy going in to work each morning, but the news your employer is financially struggling. It is one of those catch 22 moments, on one hand you absolutely love your job but on the other having job security is majorly important to you. Weighing up the options on this one is a must but if job security is at the top, then maybe jumping ahead of the game and looking for a new job before redundancies kick in may be on the cards.

There could be many reasons and signs which say its time to move on and jump ship but if this is something you are unsure on then, speaking to a local agency could help. An agency can assist talking you through the current job market, help you with your CV and assist you in applying for jobs ultimately giving you more options.

Agencies can also assist with negotiating new employment contracts for you and supporting you through handing in your notice, being an ear to listen to and offer advice when needed.

If you would like support in finding a new job or want to test the waters, then have a chat with one of our friendly and confident consultants here and Direct Response and see how we can help.

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The Perfect Interview

In today’s highly competitive job market, facing an interview is more vital than ever. The difference between landing your dream job and returning to the drawing board often lies in your ability to navigate the interview process effectively. But what does the perfect interview look like?

1. Preparation is Key

In the context of an interview, preparation is not merely about researching the company or the role but understanding how your skills, experience, and personality align with the company’s values and job requirements.

Research the Company: Understand their mission, values, culture, and recent accomplishments. This will help you tailor your responses to show how you can contribute to their goals.

Understand the Role: Analise the job description thoroughly. Identify the key skills required and prepare examples from your past experiences that demonstrate these skills.

Prepare Your Questions: Asking thoughtful questions reflects your genuine interest in the role and the company.

2. First Impressions Matter

Your arrival time, attire, and initial greeting can set the tone for the rest of the interview.

Arrive Early: Aim to arrive 10-15 minutes before the scheduled time.

Dress Appropriately: Research the company culture and dress accordingly. When in doubt, err on the side of formality.

Be Polite and Positive: Begin with a firm handshake, maintain eye contact, and don’t forget to smile.

3. Mastering the Art of Communication

The perfect interview isn’t just about answering questions correctly; it’s about communicating effectively.

Listen Actively: Before responding, ensure you understand the question. If unsure, don’t hesitate to ask for clarification.

Answer Concisely: Provide clear, concise, and structured responses. Use the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) method to frame your answers.

Show Enthusiasm: Your passion for the role and the industry should be evident in your responses.

4. Be Yourself

Remember, the interview is not just about assessing your skills and experience. It’s also about seeing if you’re a cultural fit for the company.

Show Authenticity: Be honest about your experiences, strengths, and weaknesses. Authenticity resonates with interviewers.

Showcase Your Personality: Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through. Companies value diverse teams with unique perspectives.

5. The Follow-up

The perfect interview doesn’t end when you walk out of the room.

Follow Up: If you haven’t heard back within the stipulated time, don’t hesitate to follow up with the recruiter.