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Gary Gibson

How to impress at an apprenticeship interview

Published on: Friday 27th January 2017

You’ve found an apprenticeship, submitted a successful application and been shortlisted – so how do you impress your potential employers? Kimberly-Clark Skill Centre Supervisor Gary Gibson shares his top tips on preparing for an engineering apprenticeship interview.

Don’t be afraid to make contact

“Once you’ve received a letter inviting you to the interview, accept as soon as possible,” advises Gary. “Read the letter properly and if you’re not sure about anything, just ask. Don’t be afraid to ring up and speak to somebody, even if it’s to put your mind at rest and find out a bit more about what the interview will entail.

“At Kimberly-Clark, we do a lot of careers events and open evenings at schools and colleges throughout the year, so come and talk to us to find out more about our apprenticeships.”

Do your homework

“Attention to detail is key,” says Gary. “Do your homework and find out what your chosen apprenticeship is all about.”

“The big question will be, ‘Why do you want an apprenticeship?’, so think about your answer. Sit down with your parents or teachers and go through questions and situations. What will make you a good apprentice? At Kimberly-Clark, we’re looking for examples of people being hard-working, honest, reliable and taking personal pride in projects.”

First impressions count

“Dress smartly and be punctual,” says Gary. “It’s understandable to be nervous, but come prepared and it’ll help your confidence.

“Be prepared to sell yourself and list your hobbies and passions. The applicant might not think something is important, but it might be to us as a company. The more we can learn about the candidate, the better the interview is.”

Demonstrate your passion

“It’s fantastic when someone comes in and talks very openly and passionately about engineering,” shares Gary.

“If possible, bring in a portfolio of work or examples of projects you’ve done. Things such as helping parents re-wire, pictures of DIY, work with computers or even assembling furniture shows a candidate has a real desire to get involved in that kind of work.

“Demonstrating the right attitude and behaviour is so important. We can teach the skills and provide the knowledge to be an engineer at Kimberly-Clark, but we can’t give applicants the passion and determination to get there. If they know what they want to do and have a goal, they can get there without too many diversions.

“We want to see outstanding candidates and for them to make our final decision difficult.”

What happens next?

Hopefully you’ll be accepted on to your chosen apprenticeship and looking forward to a successful career in Cumbria.

However, if you’ve done your best but still haven’t been offered an apprenticeship, don’t worry. Gary advises applicants to look for alternative routes on their chosen career path and continue to pursue their dream of taking on an apprenticeship.

“Look at college courses if you’re not successful first time around,” he says. “College courses will give you the next push to get into an apprenticeship, and there are lots of courses in engineering locally.

“We’ve had examples of applicants who haven’t been successful at first, have studied at Furness College for a year and then have been offered an apprenticeship after their second application. Having that extra year gives applicants more confidence the second time around.”

For more information on apprenticeships at Kimberly-Clark, please contact Gary Gibson on 01229 495291 or email

Click here to find out what life is like as an apprentice at Kimberly-Clark in Cumbria.

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