Back in September 2017, I wrote a post delving into my initial experiences at the very beginning of my apprenticeship. After consulting my calendar recently I realised that I’ve been at Pratt Digital for over a year already. What?! A lot has happened over the past 12 months, so I thought I’d shed some light on the realities of apprenticeships and share some tips for making the most of your time as an apprentice.

I’m a rambler, so settle in folks (although I’ll try to edit this down, for SEO purposes).

1. Expect responsibility.

Despite the apprenticeship stereotype, you are not just being employed to make the tea.

Since becoming Google Certified in the Autumn of 2017, I have become responsible for a growing number of accounts. I’ve been working on campaigns for clients across a wide variety of industries, with objectives covering everything from brand awareness to lead generation. I also write content for Pratt Digital and manage their social pages. More recently I have started to take on work surrounding Facebook and LinkedIn advertising.

My point is, becoming an apprentice doesn’t put you at the bottom of the pecking order. You become a valued member of the team and with that comes certain expectations.

2. Work, hard.

As an apprentice, you receive hands-on support from industry professionals, as well as frequent training sessions from your provider. Make the most of these resources.

With my Apprenticeship Provider, QA , I learnt all about the marketing industry – from formulating strategies and supporting customer journeys, through to the benefits of omni-channel marketing and the importance of data-analysis. I was then able to apply this in the workplace, and my skill-set quickly developed.

You’ll get just as much out of this placement as your employer will, so don’t waste the opportunity!

3. Embrace the deep-end.

Embrace any opportunity you are presented with during your placement; you never know when they may come up again. This can mean attending networking events and conferences (read about my time at Hanapin’s Hero Conf PPC event here), to taking on tasks within the office which are out of your comfort zone. Often the best way to learn and grow is by placing yourself in these situations. The beauty of an apprenticeship is that help is always there if you need it!

4. Apprenticeships – Applying for the right reasons.

Apprenticeships can be full on. During my placement, I was working 9-5, adopting client-accounts, working towards time-sensitive deadlines, and studying full time. You have to sacrifice lie-ins, mid-week nights out, daytime TV, and social events…of course this is something which often comes with the territory of the working world, but you have to be prepared to take this on to really benefit from an apprenticeship.

When deciding whether to go down the apprenticeship road, make sure that you’re looking at industries which interest you, as you’re going to be fully-immersed in whatever you choose. Do your research, talk to professionals in that industry, or perhaps look for temp-placements or voluntary work experience to trial different jobs.

5. Plan your next steps.

The learning doesn’t have to end when your apprenticeship does. If you want to branch off into a more specific sector, or wish to take your current professional position to the next level, look for courses which could benefit you! You’ll already be in the studying mind-set, so don’t just settle into a job if you feel there is more to learn.

I was lucky enough for Pratt Digital to agree to keep me on whilst I work through the CIM Level 4 Certificate in Professional marketing, enabling me to expand my marketing knowledge past the digital sector. It’s always worth having a chat with your employer, as these extra qualifications will also be a benefit to them!

Final thoughts on Apprenticeships.

Apprenticeships have come such a long way in recent years, shattering the stigma that these placements are heavily trades based opportunities. There are an influx of degree apprenticeships becoming available, spanning across many sectors. These include media, business, law, finance, education, health and STEM industries. Apprenticeships are now a recognised way to climb the career ladder whist still securing the same qualifications that universities offer.

In my experience, working in a digital marketing agency has been so much more than just a foot in the door. I’ve gained invaluable experience, learnt directly from the experts, already started making connections with other industry professionals, and am well on my way to finally obtaining my marketing diploma. Not to mention being paid throughout the entire process! (Bring on the new shoes and Krispy Kremes*).

*Other brands of equally delicious doughnuts are available.