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 wanting 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. Below are some of the duties you would be asked to do on a daily basis:
- Support pupils with their learning and class activities
- Help set up the classroom and the beginning/end of the day
- Assist in after school activities
- Help write reports to be handed to the parents in regards to the pupils learning
- Attend school meetings
- One-to-one with pupils who need help in learning
- Some admin support may be needed
When it comes to applying for a TA Apprenticeship employers look for someone who is patient, hard working and able to resolve situations. Teaching Assistant roles can be fast paced and time consuming (depending on the school you are applying for), so being able to manage you time and stay organised are important for this Apprenticeship.
Always Be Prepared
Before attending any interview you must always prepare! You should never arrive to an interview without doing any research into the business or job description. Attending without any prior research will damper you chances of being accepted.
One way to help you prepare is to look at practice questions ( You can view some example questions to the right side with hints and tips on how to answer ), as this will help you understand what the employer may ask.
Other ways to help you prepare can include:
- Writing notes about the business, apprenticeship duties etc.
- Print off your CV – can use this to help you for answers
- Plan what to wear the night before
- ALWAYS plan your journey – check travel times, traffic etc.
The more you prepare, the higher the chance that the interview will be successful be on your way to start the childcare apprenticeship.
Don’t be afraid to talk about yourself when asked. Talk about your hobbies and interests, what you like to do on weekends etc. Mention awards and achievements you have gained over the years, whether they are from school or clubs.
Give an overview of the school and what they specialise in. Mention some facts that you learned about them whether this be awards they have won, Ofsted ratings, when they were established etc. By doing this it will show the employer that you were willing to go out of your way to understand the school.
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. For example, in school settings you will need to be able to spot health and safety hazards, corrections in work etc.
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.
For your interview you still need to look presentable and put together, but wear items that are easy to move in. As you would be interacting with young children in your interview process, it is essential that you wear items that you can move in easily. You should wear attire such as:
- Men – Smart Trousers/shirt, tie, jumper, smart shoes, clean and styled hair – shave if needed
- Women – Smart trousers/shirt, Skirt, Dress smart shoes, clean and styled hair, no large/chunky jewellery
(or any smart business attire that you feel comfortable in)
When you are attending an interview within a school setting avoid jeans, trainers and casual t-shirts. Schools are looking for teaching assistant that can set an example and dressing accordingly will show this. No matter what role you apply/attend interview for, dressing appropriately will increase your chances of securing the perfect apprenticeship and give you the confidence to have a successful interview.
Make an Impact
First impressions are key when it comes to an interview; if you arrive looking unpresentable, late and with an attitude the employer will automatically decide that you are unsuccessful. Arriving in suitable attire (as stated above) and at least 10 – 15 minutes earlier will already increase your chances. Other ways to make an impact include:
- Having a bubbly and optimistic personality – always have a smile and say hello
- Give a firm handshake – shows confidence and professionalism
- Don’t talk badly about previous employers – doing this can give off the impression that you are unprofessional
- Always go into detail when answering questions – avoid one word answers, talk about processes and outcomes
- Sit upright – never slouch when sitting down
- Ensure you don’t fidget or mess with objects – looks like you’re bored or nervous
- Always say ‘thank you’ when the interview is finished
Interview Preparation Tasks
1. 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.
2. Research the company you are interviewing for the position at – Look at their website and social media accounts. Find out who founded the company and when, what the company does, who their clients or customers are. The employer will ask what you know about the company, so find out as much as possible.
3. Have 2 open questions prepared to ask the employer about their company – After you have researched the company prepare at least two questions to ask the employer about the company. Make sure you aren’t asking questions that are already answered on the website.
4. 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. Work out which skills you have that would benefit the company and keep these in mind when you are talking about how you are the perfect candidate.
5. Research the company’s competitors if they have any – Being able to give suggestions and ideas for improvement at the company is a great way to show you are informed and proactive.