The Apprenticeship Support team by Be-More, Liverpool’s one stop shop for apprenticeships, has adopted a different approach to helping people learn more about apprenticeships and how to go about getting one.

“Pre-COVID we were visiting many schools, colleges and job centres delivering presentations about apprenticeships, including what’s involved, qualifications you can get, what types of apprenticeships there are and importantly, how to find them and apply. Often 10 to 30 people across the different Liverpool City Region (LCR) Job centre Plus (JCP) Centres. This would not be safe during lockdown, so we had to rethink how to do this,” explains Samantha Metcalfe, Apprenticeship Support Hub Skills Broker. “We recognised that many 18 to 21 year old people, registered with Universal Credit and seeking employment may not have heard about apprenticeships. We also wanted to bust any myths that jobs and training were not available during this dreadful pandemic. Liverpool companies are some of the most resourceful in the UK and we knew we had to be as resourceful as they were to keep delivering valuable information to prospective apprentices. We turned to Zoom and began contacting job centres across the Liverpool City Region.”

The virtual presentations have proved as popular and effective as the live ones. They were promoted through Apprenticeship Support’s great contacts and relationships within the JCPs. The Zoom format allowed the team to continue presenting current apprenticeship opportunities and answer questions about what being an apprentice involves. The team also invited members from our LCR Apprenticeship Ambassador Network to discuss their experiences as an Apprentice and how they applied successfully. Cerys Hope is no stranger to apprenticeships. She has found them useful in progressing her career. She started a second apprenticeship at Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) in July after gaining her first in customer service with a local commercial vehicle manufacturer. In her presentation she highlights links to search for apprenticeships in the area and has some top tips for success. These were based on her practical experiences and her recent success securing an apprenticeship during COVID. Her application process was entirely virtual including a virtual interview.

“Competition for apprenticeships is tougher as companies are looking for great talent and someone to employ as well as train. One of Cerys’ top tips is work hard and that applies not only to working hard in your apprenticeship to get the most out of it, but also working hard to get one successfully. That includes researching the apprenticeship you want and the company offering it,” reveals Samantha.

The virtual presentations went well. Many people who attended them began searching for apprenticeships and applying. Feedback from Huyton Job Centre Plus mentioned Jessica who was not sure whether an apprenticeship was for her prior to the presentation. She found the Zoom session really informative and has now applied for apprenticeships with United Utilities and BT. The virtual approach was also well received. William wrote: “I’ve never used that medium before, and I was a bit apprehensive. However, it was fantastic, and your presentation was excellent. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and learned a lot from it.”

“I know COVID is going to be around for a while, even though the country is being vaccinated. I believe virtual presentations are a safe and effective way for us to continue to help people learn more about apprenticeships and how to find one. We are now zooming into all JCP Centres across the Liverpool City Region,” says Samantha.

If you would like a virtual presentation on Apprenticeships then contact Apprenticeship Support by Be More on 0800 074 0724 or email: be-more@halton.gov.uk