We are inundated with young people looking to start an apprenticeship with Tech City Stars or Future LDN.

We get over 300 applications a month!

And what do the best applicants do to secure themselves an apprenticeship with one of our employers?

Do they have oodles of skills? NO

Do they have lots of work experience? NO

Do they have a CV? NO

The best applicants come in pen in hand, and they TAKE NOTES & ASK QUESTIONS!

This simple yet effective skill shows us and prospective employers that the young person has EEWAP*!

I can’t tell you where I’d be if I hadn’t had a pen on hand to write down my ideas (or more importantly, other people’s) as soon as they came to me. Some of Virgin’s most successful companies have been born from random moments – if we hadn’t opened our notebooks, they would never have happened. Richard Branson

How many of us when we hire an experienced member of staff wish that they ask better questions, and actually take notes when learning or talking to someone?

We encourage all of our candidates to take this approach when they get the opportunity to go out for work trials and our employers know to look for their notebook and pen!

If you don’t know what questions to ask here are some basic examples that you can apply to almost any situation:

  • What do you do and how is that measured?
  • Why is that important?
  • Why do you do it that way?
  • What steps do you need to take to do that?
  • What are the biggest problems that you encounter day to day?

These should give you ample room for discussion and really get under the skin of someone’s role or what a company does.

And it’s such as simple determinator of success.

IF you take notes and ask questions you WILL be a great apprentice.

IF you don’t take notes or ask questions . . . well you are going to struggle.

As a skill, this is something that all of us need to be aware of and practice everyday.

Not just for our own knowledge**, but it makes the person teaching you realise that you are a worthwhile investment.

It will impact your personal brand in the office by showing other people that you are interested and willing to learn.

What are the best questions that you use day to day?

Do you take notes in your job?

And if so how do you organise them?

*EEWAP – Energy, Enthusiasm, Willingness to learn, Ability to take feedback and Propensity to TAKE ACTION.

**Research backs this up. Howe in 1970 found that students who had taken notes were 7 times more likely to remember facts a week later than those who had not. https://www.ericdigests.org/pre-929/note.htm