Anon243
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Hi, I was just wondering if anyone has any advice on degree apprenticeships? The majority of experiences I can find are about business/finance ones but I want to do one in civil engineering. I've just finished my A levels (I did Maths, German, and Physics) and I'm taking a gap year. Most seem to come out in autumn so I don't have long to start doing things to prepare. I've just got a part time job and I've done some previous volunteering but nothing related to civil engineering. I did some work experience last year but that was more general construction. I'm looking for some work experience in civil engineering but I haven't got any yet and I don't know if I'll get anything before it's time to apply for apprenticeships. I'm taking a gap year because last year when it was time to apply I didn't know what I wanted to do so now I have to wait a year, so I'm planning on saving up some money as I'll have to live on my own next year.

I don't know how best to prepare, is there anything I can do to help me stand out? I applied for one during lockdown as practice and got past the onliine tests but then they were screening my CV and I didn't get invited to an interview so there must be something wrong with my CV, I asked for feedback but I didn't get any.

I'm particularly interested in the environment and ultimately want to go into the design part of sustainable buildings, and I did a research project on this as part of my German A Level. Should I focus on this or do I need more knowledge about civil engineering in general? Should I be reading books and watching documentaries etc and gain a good knowledge of civil engineering or will I learn all that on the apprenticeship? I just don't know what to expect and I don't know what would be a useful way to spend my time to increase my chances of getting an apprenticeship and also to develop my career. For example should I do online courses in Excel, BIM, or AutoCAD etc or will that all be taught on the apprenticeship. Also would it be worth trying to improve my physics and maths so I find the degree part easier as I know it's a lot to balance, or again would I just be taught this anyway? Should I try and get an extra qualification eg a btech or NVQ?

Also how do I prepare for the assessment centre? Companies often mention group projects, is this about civil engineering or just a general task. For example I saw someone did a business one but the task was to discuss what they'd take to a desert island (so not to do with business), but there was also another one that was more about business. Has anyone been to a civil engineering assessment centre? What did you have to do? Do you need a lot of knowledge around civil engineering projects?

Basically any advice on gap years, CV, the application process in general, or what the actual engineering degree apprenticeship is like would be grately appreciated.

Thanks in advance.
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Chris2892
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Hey,

Sorry you’ve not yet got any replies.

Having completed a mechanical engineering degree apprenticeship, I’ve answered a lot of these questions before, but will personalise some responses for you

Most seem to come out in autumn so I don't have long to start doing things to prepare.
Start dates typically coincide with academic start I.e. July-October. Assessments/interviews are usually a few month before, and applications can appear anytime from autumn yes. I’d check frequently.

I don't know how best to prepare, is there anything I can do to help me stand out?
Most of the additional things I did were specific to the employer for the interview stages. Everything else that made me stand out was drawn from my experience, relevant or not. Applications usually feature a series of questions, either In video interview or written Format, your cv is usually just used to gauge you have the entry requirements and interest in the subject.

Work experience is useful for helping you decide what you want to do.

there must be something wrong with my CV
I could take a look for you if you like, you can remove all your personal information I.e. name, age, address, location based data (schools) etc. Private message me if you’d like some feedback. Or you can email this to my corporate email,

do I need more knowledge about civil engineering in general?
Employers expect you to have the entry level requirements, they don’t expect you to have relevant experience in A levels. Apprenticeships are designed to teach you from zero.
You’ll find they’re just as, if not more, interested in your interpersonal and team skills.

I just don't know what to expect and I don't know what would be a useful way to spend my time to increase my chances of getting an apprenticeship and also to develop my career.
I think you’re confusing yourself due to lack of exposure to the different careers. Sustainability, even within civil engineering, is a huge field. It’s worth mentioning that you may find yourself driving sustainability as a civil engineer, but not necessarily be involved with developing the technologies. I’d advise you try and get some work experience that showcases different roles. And and all experience is valuable... knowing what you don’t want to do is just as important as knowing what you want to do. I know of some opportunities, but they’re all online live meetings for now.

would it be worth trying to improve my physics and maths
Calculus is a bit part of engineering. If you feel you need a refresher, or want to identify topics covered at university, use KhanAcademy. It’s free and it was my go to place as an engineering uni student for math and physics.
Alternatively, if you prefer something to hold, Straud’s engineering math is the popular option. For applied engineering math, Meriam and Kraige‘s “Engineering Mechanics: Dynamics”, and “Statics” We’re my personal favourites. They’re costly though.

how do I prepare for the assessment centre?
Assessment centres usually involve a tour, group exercise, and maybe a presentation or an additional 1-2-1 interview.
By this point they’ll know your qualifications and experience. This is where they want to understand how you work in a team and how you use your interpersonal skills.

Hope this helps!

Let me know if you have any questions,
Chris
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Hoc est Bellum
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(Original post by Anon243)
Hi, I was just wondering if anyone has any advice on degree apprenticeships? The majority of experiences I can find are about business/finance ones but I want to do one in civil engineering. I've just finished my A levels (I did Maths, German, and Physics) and I'm taking a gap year. Most seem to come out in autumn so I don't have long to start doing things to prepare. I've just got a part time job and I've done some previous volunteering but nothing related to civil engineering. I did some work experience last year but that was more general construction. I'm looking for some work experience in civil engineering but I haven't got any yet and I don't know if I'll get anything before it's time to apply for apprenticeships. I'm taking a gap year because last year when it was time to apply I didn't know what I wanted to do so now I have to wait a year, so I'm planning on saving up some money as I'll have to live on my own next year.

I don't know how best to prepare, is there anything I can do to help me stand out? I applied for one during lockdown as practice and got past the onliine tests but then they were screening my CV and I didn't get invited to an interview so there must be something wrong with my CV, I asked for feedback but I didn't get any.

I'm particularly interested in the environment and ultimately want to go into the design part of sustainable buildings, and I did a research project on this as part of my German A Level. Should I focus on this or do I need more knowledge about civil engineering in general? Should I be reading books and watching documentaries etc and gain a good knowledge of civil engineering or will I learn all that on the apprenticeship? I just don't know what to expect and I don't know what would be a useful way to spend my time to increase my chances of getting an apprenticeship and also to develop my career. For example should I do online courses in Excel, BIM, or AutoCAD etc or will that all be taught on the apprenticeship. Also would it be worth trying to improve my physics and maths so I find the degree part easier as I know it's a lot to balance, or again would I just be taught this anyway? Should I try and get an extra qualification eg a btech or NVQ?

Also how do I prepare for the assessment centre? Companies often mention group projects, is this about civil engineering or just a general task. For example I saw someone did a business one but the task was to discuss what they'd take to a desert island (so not to do with business), but there was also another one that was more about business. Has anyone been to a civil engineering assessment centre? What did you have to do? Do you need a lot of knowledge around civil engineering projects?

Basically any advice on gap years, CV, the application process in general, or what the actual engineering degree apprenticeship is like would be grately appreciated.

Thanks in advance.
The thing that will get you apprenticeship offers and interviews is a project. This is what will get you an apprenticeship. Something to demonstrate your enthusiasm and aptitude for the subject - employers will fight for you lol.
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Chris2892
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(Original post by Hoc est Bellum)
The thing that will get you apprenticeship offers and interviews is a project. This is what will get you an apprenticeship. Something to demonstrate your enthusiasm and aptitude for the subject - employers will fight for you lol.
The contents of a project isn’t always important at this level. Choosing a relevant project, great! But can you convey the requirement, significance, and effects of the project?

I’d be more interested in an applicant who did a cleaning project if they could talk meaningfully about project risk mitigation and cross functional management of key deliverables.
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Anon243
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(Original post by Chris2892)
The contents of a project isn’t always important at this level. Choosing a relevant project, great! But can you convey the requirement, significance, and effects of the project?

I’d be more interested in an applicant who did a cleaning project if they could talk meaningfully about project risk mitigation and cross functional management of key deliverables.
Thank you, I was thinking of doing a project but I wasn't sure what kind of thing to do. I didn't do an EPQ at Sixth Form, would something in that style be useful? For my language A level I had to do a research proejct and I did it about the significance of sustainable buildings helping climate change but it was for the speaking exam so not written out like an essay, should I write this out like an EPQ with referencing etc? Or would some other project be more suitable, like you said with risk mitigation etc, does it need to be more applicable to everyday use in civil eingineering?
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Chris2892
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(Original post by Anon243)
Thank you, I was thinking of doing a project but I wasn't sure what kind of thing to do. I didn't do an EPQ at Sixth Form, would something in that style be useful? For my language A level I had to do a research proejct and I did it about the significance of sustainable buildings helping climate change but it was for the speaking exam so not written out like an essay, should I write this out like an EPQ with referencing etc? Or would some other project be more suitable, like you said with risk mitigation etc, does it need to be more applicable to everyday use in civil eingineering?
I think the most valuable thing you can get out of a project for application purposes is the discussion points it brings.
Being able to understand a projects worth and what you personally gain from it in terms of developing your skill set is more valuable than the project topic itself. For the level you’re at anyway.

You’ll no doubt have already seen key words thrown around in job openings, such as “self motivated, keen eye for detail, problem solver etc.” A project allows you to give examples of where you’ve demonstrated these as opposed to throwing meaningless self claims at an employer.

If an employer asks you what your greatest weakness is, they don’t want you to tell them an over used strength such as being a perfectionist. They want you to be honest and tell them something you’ve identified that you can improve, and how you’ve taken the initiative to improve that.

If you don’t feel that you already have examples to back up the typical engineering traits an employer is looking for, pick a meaningful project in something that helps inform you and build on your weak areas.

I told my employer I wasn’t great at maths in my interview when they asked for my “greatest weakness”. But I was able to tell them that I’d taken voluntary out of hours A-level math lessons to help bridge the gap to higher education.

This didn’t just show them that I wouldn’t struggle with maths, but that I could identify my weak areas and take action to improve without close supervision.
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