Congratulations on being nominated for the South Yorkshire Awards!
That was very exciting. I didn’t expect it, but it’s still an absolute privilege to be nominated. The awards ceremony was a really good night, and obviously seeing Connor [IT Skills Coach at althaus] win his award as well was lovely. So yeah, it was really, really nice. I didn’t think I’d be doing an apprenticeship at nearly 28!
What made you decide to do an apprenticeship?
I went to uni and got my degree, which I loved, but it wasn’t the most practical course for going into a specific career. When we came out of COVID and there was a bit more time for team training, this opportunity came up. I was already moving into the role of communications and engagement officer, so to embark on an apprenticeship that would help me upskill in my new role seemed like the perfect opportunity!
In my role, I run all of our social media channels and I manage things like emails and all of our inbound enquiries. The apprenticeship felt like a natural way to get formal training and expand my skills. It was a natural progression and I’m very fortunate that, between althaus and my employer, they gave me the time to be able to complete an apprenticeship alongside my workload.
What was the onboarding process like?
I was already looking for a new training opportunity anyway, but I wanted something a bit more substantial. I didn’t know much about apprenticeships; we weren’t really told anything about apprenticeships at school. Sam from althaus went through what it actually involved and explained the funding and how this is supported by your employer. Especially with the digital marketing course, I was able to learn things and actually then put them into practice, which I haven’t always had with other training that I’ve done because it’s a bit more theoretical.
The whole process throughout has been really clear; I’ve always known what the expectations are and when deadlines are, which really helped with building my portfolio. I was worried that I didn’t have any idea about the structure of an apprenticeship, but althaus made it really clear the whole way through. So yeah, I was very, very happy with that!
How did you find the training delivered and what support did you get?
On the live sessions everyone’s encouraged to take part. So even if it’s a module where you’re not very confident and you maybe haven’t got a clue where to start, it was really helpful to talk to someone, especially about things like running paid ads on social media, as that was an area I wanted to learn more about. At my company it’s something we’ve used agencies for in the past, and you don’t always get a huge amount of feedback. But then I was able to sit in a live session and work with someone who worked for an agency and be like, ‘Can I get a bit of advice?’ So even that peer learning element was really nice.
What did you find most challenging within the apprenticeship?
I think getting used to remote learning was a big thing for me. Obviously it’s really convenient, it fits around my job and I was able to take part from where I’m based, which is great, and if it had been in person, I wouldn’t have had that opportunity. But I think for some modules – particularly the subject areas I had no experience in, like coding – I was a bit unsure about it. But it’s nowhere near as scary as I thought it was going to be!
Project work can be challenging – I think staying on track with that and making sure I was allocating time to it and actually sticking to it, as well as my ability to manage time and stay engaged and keep my attention span. But again, the deadlines and catch-up calls and progress checks really help with that.
What advice would you give to anyone considering an apprenticeship?
Definitely work out if it ties in with what you want to do or what your current job is, because I think if you couldn’t really apply those things in your day job, you would struggle to get the concepts and complete the work. You’ve got to have an affinity between the two.
But I’d definitely advise people to do it. I don’t think there is much information given at schools about the benefits of apprenticeships and the tangible skills you can get from them. Especially if going to university doesn’t appeal to you, I think apprenticeships offer such a good alternative path. You can still learn on the job and you can still develop. I think it’s a much better route for some people, which I wasn’t told about when I was at school.
Any final advice for someone considering an apprenticeship?
I think it’s just being open-minded about it and actually looking at job applications. I think companies are much more open to other skill sets and other qualifications. I think it’s a good thing to consider and definitely look into if you’re wanting to get straight into a working environment and hit the ground running.