Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Apprenticeship experiences

This week is National Apprenticeship Week which celebrates apprenticeships and the positive impact they have on individuals, businesses and the economy. There are over 100,000 employers who offer apprenticeships and so far, we’ve received over 8,500 applications through UCAS Progress. This figure is increasing every year!

To get a better understanding of the journey you go through on an apprenticeship, we asked Amanda Dorsett from Resource Productions and Sadie Hawkins from IBM to share their experiences.

Amanda Dorsett from Resource Productions 

“I started my journey as an 18 year old girl who had just completed her A levels but didn’t know what she wanted to do. At the time, I had two part-time jobs and had been studying IT and media. I found out about apprenticeships through school and looked further into them. I applied for tonnes of apprenticeships in IT as I thought this was the career path I wanted to take."  Read on...




Sadie Hawkins from IBM 

“Hello! My name's Sadie Hawkins and I'm an IBMer*.

A 21 year old apprentice on a mission – a mission to promote apprenticeships (and alternative career paths) and prove that apprentices really can 'get in and go far'!

With thanks to work experience back in 2010, I gained fantastic insight into IBM’s clients, culture, innovation and technology. From there, I was hooked!" Read on...



Are you thinking about an apprenticeship? Check out our website for all the facts you need to get started. You can search for apprenticeship opportunities using our search tool.

As part of National Apprenticeship Week, we’ll be sharing lots of facts and information on the UCAS Progress Facebook and Twitter pages, so keep your eyes peeled!

Sadie's apprenticeship experience

“Hello! My name's Sadie Hawkins and I'm an IBMer*.

A 21 year old apprentice on a mission – a mission to promote apprenticeships (and alternative career paths) and prove that apprentices really can 'get in and go far'!

With thanks to work experience back in 2010, I gained fantastic insight into IBM’s clients, culture, innovation and technology. From there, I was hooked! In August 2011 (at the grand old age of 18), I joined the IBM apprenticeship programme.

Since joining IBM, I've gained a broad range of experience in project, people and audit management, working with clients all across Europe. Currently, I'm a Project Manager working in Dublin. Day-to-day I manage complex technology projects as part of the merger of O2 and Three Ireland.

Over the past three and half years at IBM, I've had the most amazing opportunities from visits to Downing Street to hosting events at the BT Tower. To date, my biggest achievement was being named National Apprentice of the Year 2013.

*If you haven't seen the adverts, this line is wasted on you!”
Sadie will send us an update later in the year as she works towards her higher apprenticeship qualification. Good luck Sadie! 

Amanda's apprenticeship experience

“I started my journey as an 18 year old girl who had just completed her A levels but didn’t know what she wanted to do. At the time, I had two part-time jobs and had been studying IT and media. I found out about apprenticeships through school and looked further into them. I applied for tonnes of apprenticeships in IT as I thought this was the career path I wanted to take, but never heard back. By this time I had no idea what I was going to do and if I would ever find an apprenticeship. I thought I would try looking for a media apprenticeship and found one with a local company. I applied and got an interview, and afterwards I remember thinking ‘well I’m not going to get that job, better get home and apply for others’. There was actually nothing to worry about as I had been invited back for a second interview and eventually got the apprenticeship, wooo!

I enrolled on a level three Creative and Digital Media Apprenticeship with Resource Productions and from there it’s been non-stop! I carried out my apprenticeship and spent a whole week at college every two to three months, so when I wasn’t at college, I was able to focus on my work. In the year of my first apprenticeship, I learnt so many things. I got first aid trained, trained to be an ASDAN and Arts Award adviser, and went on a residential with 60 young people aged 16-17 – it was challenging to say the least! These are only a few things I did in my first year at Resource and trust me, there are a lot more.

Once I completed my apprenticeship, I was offered full-time employment by Resource Productions while they looked into a level four apprenticeship that matched my job role. In May last year, I enrolled on my second apprenticeship in level four Marketing and Communications. I have the same responsibilities as my last apprenticeship plus a lot more. For example, I get to create all the graphics and marketing for the company, which is something I love and want to pursue a career in. This is where I am currently and I will finish my apprenticeship in May.”

We’ll be hearing back from Amanda when she completes her level four apprenticeship later in the year. Best of luck Amanda! 

Friday, 6 March 2015

Top tips for meeting the art & design application deadline

Our next application deadline is just around the corner on 24 March, and it applies to some art and design courses. Here we’ll cover the most common questions we get about this deadline, to make sure you send in your application on time.

How do I check if the course has a 24 March deadline?
You can check which deadline a course follows in our search tool. Once you’ve selected the course you’re interested in, you’ll be taken to a page with a ‘How to apply’ tab. Select this tab and you’ll see which deadline your course has.


What time is the deadline?
The deadline is at 18:00 UK time on 24 March. We must receive your completed application, including a reference, by this time for it to count as on time. Make sure you allow plenty of time before the deadline for your referee to complete a reference.

Also remember, you need to pay the application fee before it can be sent. The fee is £12 for one choice or £23 for more than one choice. Try not to leave payment until the last day – just in case you encounter any problems. If you're having difficulties making a payment then follow these tips to overcome this.

What will happen if I send my application after the deadline? 
Your application will be considered late if it reaches us after 18:00 on 24 March, and the universities and colleges don’t guarantee equal consideration. Although some may still consider you, this would be less likely for more popular courses.

If you’re in this position and you want to check whether you’d be considered after the deadline, then get in touch with the universities to check.

Why can’t I log in to my application?
If you can’t log in to your application, check that you’re trying to log into Apply and not Track. If you’ve forgotten your username or password, try to reset your details using our ‘Forgotten login?’ tool. If you’re still having trouble then give us a call so one of our advisers can help.

Good luck with your application!
If you have any further questions about the 24 March deadline, get in touch with our advisers on Facebook or Twitter.


Tuesday, 3 March 2015

How to reply to your conservatoire offers

If you’ve applied to a conservatoire, the next deadline to reply to offers is less than a month away. Some of our terminology can seem confusing at first, so we’ll talk you through what your offers mean and how you can reply to them!

Get on Track
To reply to your offers, first of all you need to log in to Track and select ‘Click here to view the current status of each of your choices’.

Here are the SIX different decisions you could see in Track:

Guaranteed unconditional (GU) – your place is confirmed and you don’t have any conditions to meet.

Guaranteed conditional (GC) – you need to meet certain conditions set by the conservatoire before your place is confirmed.

Reserve unconditional (VU) – you’re on the reserve list and if a vacancy comes up you won’t need to meet any conditions, the place will be confirmed.

Reserve conditional (VC) – you’re on the reserve list and if a vacancy comes up you will need to meet some conditions set by the conservatoire before the place is confirmed.

Audition pending (AP) – the conservatoire have invited you to attend an audition.
Unsuccessful – the conservatoire is not offering you a place.

First and second choices
Once you have a final decision from all the conservatoires you’ve applied to, the ‘Reply to Offers’ option will be available under your list of choices in red. After selecting this, you can reply to each offer – the options are ‘first choice’, ‘second choice’ and ‘decline’.

You can accept one offer as your first choice. If you’re accepting a reserve unconditional (VU) or reserve conditional (VC) you can have one second choice too, which can be any of your other offers.

If you accept a guaranteed unconditional (GU) or guaranteed conditional (GC) as your first choice then you can’t have a second choice.

Stay up-to-date
We’ll send you an email when there are any changes to your application, but to put your mind at rest it never hurts to keep an eye on Track. You need to reply by the date shown in Track, otherwise any offers will be automatically declined.

Once you’ve replied to your offers we’ll post you a letter to confirm this. Double-check all the information on this letter is correct, and if there are any issues call us as soon as possible.

If you have any questions about UCAS Conservatoires then have a look on our website or get in touch with our advisers on Facebook or Twitter.

Meet our blogger Charlotte and follow her journey as she applies to study at a conservatoire.