Working with some of the most recognised academies and grammar schools in the North West, we are always looking for confident and professional teaching assistant apprentices to join their schools. The main reason employers want to hire a teaching assistant is not to just help support the class teacher to enhance pupils’ learning, but to enhance their skills that they can carry on into the future.
Depending on the school that you take an apprenticeship, the tasks and ways of helping can differ. For example, if you are assisting in a school that is specifically for the disabled, how you help in the class will be different from that in a public or grammar school.
An essential part of making a good impression at interview is dressing smart. Dressing formally shows that you are serious about the role, are ambitious and respectful of the business itself. Wearing a shirt and tie with trousers and polished black shoes or a smart blouse and trousers/pencil skirt are a great way to show your interest and professionalism.
Making sure your body language is open and confident is another method of communicating that you are reliable. Nodding your head occasionally shows that you are actively listening.
Interview Preparation Tasks
- Read the Interview Confirmation email thoroughly. Familiarise yourself with the location that your interview will take place at. Check transport times. Read through any extra details or helpful advice in the email ton help you prepare.
- Research the company you are interviewing for the position at. Look at their website to find out more about the school, what they believe in and what they offer for children. Doing this shows that you are willing to understand who they are.
- Have 2 open questions prepared to ask the employer about their company.After you have done your research, prepare at least two questions to ask the employer. Make sure you aren’t asking questions that are already answered on the website. Don’t asked closed questions (questions that can be answered with a yes or no).
- Study the Job Description and think about what your transferrable skills are.
Consider what would be expected of you in the role on a day to day basis and review your work experience and the skills you have previously gained. Work out which skills you have that would benefit them, and keep these in mind when you are talking about what you can bring to the role.
- Research competitors if they have any. Being able to give suggestions and ideas for improvement at the school is a great way to show you are informed and proactive.
Talk a little about your personality and related interests, mentioning any awards or achievements. Don’t over share information about yourself but don’t give too short an answer.
Give an overview of who they are whilst mentioning some facts that you learned about them to show you researched before the interview.
This is where your research is important as you can implement this in your answer. Mention a success story of theirs and what you like about their processes and the way they work compared to their competitors. It is also important to have ideas of things you feel you could bring and incorporate into the business.
Reflecting on an example of prioritising tasks during a heavy workload is a positive way to show competency in a role and demonstrates organisational skills. Explain how and why you made the decision and why it was the right one.
Talk about any relevant software packages you have used, for example Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint. Any technical office systems that you have had previous use or an overview of would also be advantageous.
Mentioning an experience where you came across mistakes and had these corrected and how you ensured this didn’t happen again is beneficial.
Strengths – Mention two or three strengths and talk about how you’ve applied them in your past work experience. (for example, communicating effectively, time management and organisational skills) and give an example of one of them.
Weaknesses – This is where you can show you are honest, can self-evaluate and are keen to improve. Choose a positive aspect of your personality and mention how this can be slightly detrimental.
Think about the school as a whole and positions you could progress to within, taking into account your wider ambitions. Explain how you think you can achieve this and why you think starting an apprenticeship is a great way to start. Most employers want to hire someone with drive and determination so don’t be afraid to set your goals high. It is important to do your apprenticeship with an employer you have an interest and passion in so you feel you can progress.
Before the interview be aware of how much the role offers on the job description and research salary expectations in this sector based on those in positions that have similar experience to yourself.
Although this is slightly personal this gives the employer an insight into yourself as a person as well as the roles you may wish to progress to. For example, motivation to build a successful career or provide more for your family etc are both acceptable answers.
Be honest about your reasons for leaving your last role but mention wanting a career with more opportunities for progression. Explain how the role you are interviewing for is a much better fit for you, and why you feel this position would be a great opportunity.
Use this time to ask questions about the school, daily operations or their expectations of you as an employee in this role. Do not ask questions that could have been answered previously with an online search. Aim to ask open ended questions that won’t result in the employer just giving a yes or no answer.