From a young age we’re expected to ‘know’ what career path we want to follow in the future. Realistically most don’t have a clue. Once statutory education is over, where to next? A full-time job? Travelling? University? What about an apprenticeship?

As most students do, in my final year of sixth form I applied for university. However, I was a bit ‘on the fence’ about whether I wanted to go or not.

Having decided to take a gap year and defer my offer, I started searching for jobs. I began working part-time with a family member in marketing – and that’s when I realised what I wanted to do. I knew I wouldn’t be able to go into a marketing job without any marketing related qualifications. So I searched online for ‘marketing apprenticeships’. After scrolling through numerous results, I found a listing for Igniyte. The work sounded interesting and seemed like the perfect step for me into the world of marketing.

Practical real-life experience and a qualification

I was excited to hit the ground running and gain practical, real life experience all whilst gaining a qualification without the debt! I’m a firm believer that, to learn how to do something, you’ve got to experience it. Sitting in lectures and writing essays is great for the theory side. But, applying it to a real-life situation is when you really start to understand it. An apprenticeship provides the theory and practical side of a course, which is why it was a no-brainer for me.

When I joined Igniyte I was helping to look after the social media side of the business, which involved:

  • Helping the Social Media Manager with creating daily social media activity, campaigns and campaign scheduling on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
  • Creating Twitter polls.
  • Taking part in group webinars to further my social media knowledge.
  • Creating blogposts and uploading them via WordPress and sharing them on social media.
  • Working with Account Managers on projects.
  • Working with the Head of Content to developing my writing skills and tone of voice.
  • Learning about best practice reputation techniques from our Client Services Manager and Account Managers.
  • SEO and analytics.

While I was doing this, my apprenticeship also involved the following:

  • Coursework – combining written knowledge pieces and evidence pieces, such as screenshots and videos of my work.
  • The nine units I had to complete for my apprenticeship all linked to the work I was doing. This was very handy and made it easier to understand getting first-hand experience completing the tasks.
  • A Content Management System Website Creation unit, which linked to my work of uploading our clients’ blogs, editing WordPress websites, and planning.
  • A Use Digital and Social Media in Marketing Campaigns unit linked to creating Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn campaigns with our Social Media Manager.
  • A Principles of Social Media within a Business unit, helped me to identify and understand how social media fits into the objectives and marketing of a business – for Igniyte and our clients.
  • My understanding of keywords improved hugely whilst going through the Principles of Keywords and Optimisation unit, I worked closely with members of the team that carefully explained the need for keywords and why this is crucial to rank well in search results.
  • The Analyse and Report Data unit came in to play for reporting on paid social campaigns and demonstrating return on investment.

Like most young people, I love social media and keeping up with the latest trends and apps – meaning I really enjoyed my time as an apprentice. My daily tasks varied hugely, from creating a quick Twitter poll, to a full paid Facebook campaign or planning a clients’ social activity for the week. There was always something different!

Challenges and rewards of an apprenticeship

Being an apprentice can have its challenges, managing work deadlines, whilst keeping up with apprenticeship deadlines and having a social life can be a task! My apprenticeship developed my time management skills massively, and over a short period of time I learnt a huge amount of valuable digital marketing knowledge. I didn’t think it would be possible over the period of a year. Not only did I learn new things about social media, I learnt the foundations of digital marketing and online reputation management. With the support of the team I picked up key knowledge very quickly, everyone was eager to guide me through how and why we do things the way we do.

Put simply, my apprenticeship gave me a great start into a future career in marketing. I also earned a nationally recognised qualification, gained a breadth of useful knowledge, plenty of work experience and I don’t have any debt. It’s definitely something I’d encourage all young people to look into.

Looking to the future

I’m now a full-time Social Media Executive at Igniyte. Looking to the future, I’m excited about gaining more experience and delving into other aspects of the business. I’m hoping to be able to start a part-time university degree to further my knowledge and education, whilst building on my working experience. For anyone who may be unsure of their next steps, or employers who are considering taking on an apprentice, I would highly recommend considering it.

National Apprenticeship Week runs from 5-9 March 2018, the theme for this year is ‘Apprenticeships Work’ showcasing how apprenticeships work. Find out more on Twitter at @Apprenticeships or search here.

Previous Article UK corporate reputations are now valued at more than £1billion February 28, 2018 Next Article Reputational Risk - The Reputation Report 2018 March 13, 2018