Apprentice Developing Marketing Skills in the Workplace

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City College Plymouth student Hannah James, age 17, is currently undertaking a Level 3 Digital Marketing Apprenticeship with local businesses Redrok and Event West.

Hannah started her journey with City College by enrolling on a full-time Level 3 Diploma in Media and Film. Upon completion of the course, Hannah started an Apprenticeship this summer and is now gaining valuable work experience, putting into practice the skills she gained on her College course.

Redrok and Event West are two local companies that work together closely and share premises (including offices, a workshop and a warehouse) in the Estover neighbourhood of Plymouth. As part of her Apprenticeship, Hannah works across both businesses and gets involved in a range of activities, from e-mailing customers and posting on Facebook to engraving medals and updating web pages.

Hannah says: “I decided to do an Apprenticeship because I’m not a very academic person, and sitting in a classroom doesn’t suit me. The idea of being able to get direct experience in the workplace really appealed to me – it seemed like the best way for me to develop and prepare for future employment.”

In terms of her experience in the role so far, Hannah really enjoys getting involved with the events organised and managed by Event West. She says: “We deliver a range of events, including the Plymouth 5K, 10K, Great South West Sportive and Devon Business Show. Britain’s Ocean City Half Marathon was the first one I assisted with and there wasn’t a boring moment all day! I was constantly doing something – whether it was speaking to people or posting on social media. With events, it’s exciting to see everything come together on the day after lots of preparation and hard work!”

Hannah continues: “On the Redrok side of things, I get involved with a lot of social media as well as general administration, answering the phone and organising merchandise.” Redrok provides marketing solutions and offers merchandising and print products that range from branded hoodies to business cards.

Hannah says: “I really enjoy working here as part of a small team and I have very supportive colleagues; there’s always someone to ask for advice. For example, my colleague Dan and I complement each other in terms of our skills sets – if there’s something one of us can’t do, we’ll look to each other for support and come up with a solution together. Our Managing Director, David Williams, is also very creative and passionate about what he does, which is particularly inspiring.”

David says: “Hannah is a real asset to the team – she is developing key skills in digital marketing, and is enthusiastic and quick to learn about different aspects of the business. I would definitely recommend taking on an apprentice to bring a fresh perspective to your organisation.”

Hannah chose to do the Apprenticeship after gaining some marketing work experience with Devonport-based community interest company Real Ideas Organisation (RIO). Her aunt works for RIO and gave Hannah the opportunity to do some work shadowing with her in the run-up to the illuminate light festival at Royal William Yard. Hannah says: “My aunt took me to marketing meetings and I came up with some ideas for how to promote the event on the RIO website and social media. It was a great experience and gave me a good insight in to this sector.”

Speaking about her day-to-day working life, Hannah says: “I have to be careful with everything I do as an apprentice, but I get to be creative with it at the same time which is great. I plan and write everything down so I don’t forget anything … I’ve never posted on social media without the post being drafted and checked first – I write it, Dan will check it, David will check it, and then I’ll double-check it – and it only goes out if we’re all happy!”

In terms of advice for anyone considering a similar route, Hannah says: “I’d encourage you to go ahead and do it! Now that I’m doing my Apprenticeship, there’s a good chance of me finding a job once I’ve finished. If I was doing a classroom-based qualification I wouldn’t be gaining the employability skills and direct experience in the workplace that I am right now.”

Looking to the future, Hannah thinks she would like to continue in the marketing sector, perhaps even furthering her career at Redrok and Event West.

If you are thinking about doing an Apprenticeship like Hannah, explore your options at City College Plymouth by attending one of their Course Information Drop-ins on 4, 11 and 18 September, 4.30pm-6.30pm.