Our very own apprentice, Lauren, explores her experience so far and the benefits of becoming a digital apprentice.
In this post, our first apprentice, Lauren, discusses her experiences as a digital apprentice, her thoughts on the industry and her job role. Lauren will also be exploring the importance of encouraging the next generation to get into digital and the benefits of becoming an apprentice.
Becoming a Digital Apprentice
Ever since school, I have loved the digital and media industries and was set on building my career in one of them. I always enjoyed studying media, especially the marketing and advertising topics. This was further confirmed through my marketing work experience for Proximo UK (an alcohol marking company in charge of Jose Cuervo and Kraken) which I absolutely loved and really saw myself working in a similar role in the future.
During college I felt immense pressure to follow the typical route of going to university after A-levels, but I just wasn’t convinced it was for me. Having always struggled with generalised anxiety I didn’t want to be too far away from my family and friends and somewhere I would potential feel uncomfortable. More and more I was hearing about digital apprenticeships emerging and the overwhelming need for digital positions to be filled within an ever-expanding industry. I couldn’t imagine anything better than to take on an apprenticeship, learning new skills on the job, gaining years of valuable experience ahead of my university peers, whilst also earning money and avoiding the debt of university.
After I completed my A-levels I was working part-time in retail which was a frustrating time for me as I felt like I wasn’t working towards anything, I wasn’t enjoying it and it wasn’t challenging me in any way. During this period I was constantly searching for an apprenticeship that I felt would be enjoyable as well as challenging and diverse. I’ve always been a hard worker and enjoyed learning new skills so desperately wanted to find an apprenticeship that would push me to do new things and grow as a person. Living in close proximity to Brighton ( a digital capital) I was determined that I would be able to find an opportunity that fulfilled all my needs. I came across Graphite in August of last year when they posted an advertisement for a Digital Marketing / Client Service Apprentice on LinkedIn. I applied and met with Graphite twice for interviews before I was given the position and really liked the whole feel and passion of the agency, as well as their work, exciting projects and clients they had the opportunity to work with.
My Role as an Apprentice
Having now been at Graphite for four months, I can already see how my skills and knowledge have greatly developed across all areas of the industry. I have learnt so much from getting to be hands on with projects and being given more and more responsibilities as time goes on.
Support Desk Management
At Graphite I manage the client support desk ‘Zendesk’, where clients submit tickets detailing issues or problems they have or tasks they need to be done. It is then my responsibility to communicate with the client to ask any further questions on the matter and to ensure they are satisfied and updated with our progress. On the other side, I allocate these tickets to my colleagues in different teams, chasing them on their progress and helping to solve the issue as efficiently as possible.
My other main responsibility is managing the social media channels for Graphite. I plan, create, schedule and monitor posts on Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook daily and project manage the production of assets and content (e.g. blog posts). Graphite had very limited activity on social media before I was hired so I have taken on the 'brand voice' and organic and paid social posting is now one of my main focuses. I also work alongside our Marketing Manager to write briefs for assets, run paid ad campaigns on social media, write marketing emails and run Google PPC campaigns.
QA and User Testing
Once support issues have been fixed or products have been created for clients, I have the responsibility of quality assurance and user testing before the product goes over to the client. I make suggestions to improve or highlight potential issues, making notes to pass back to the Account Manager.
Iam extremely passionate in wanting to help young people see that university is no longer the only route for academic students and that apprenticeships are no longer just for vocational subjects e.g. construction - there is something for everyone. Apprenticeships can help improve an individual's confidence in their abilities, general knowledge of the industry that can be applied to real life situations as well as gaining years of valuable experience that is highly respected by employers. There is great opportunity for a successful career within digital with the fast growing industry and need for constant development globally to keep up with it.
Graphite has begun an initiative called ‘Future Talent’ to help get young and underrepresented individuals into digital through initiatives such as apprenticeships, working with Spear Brighton and working with local schools for work experience.
If you’re interested in taking on an apprenticeship or about to start one, here are my top tips:
- Throw yourself into anything you can - experience as many things as you can (e.g. different programmes, technologies, tasks) to learn as much about your industry and roles as you can. Ask to shadow a colleague or try something out, this will help you figure out exactly what area you most enjoy/are best at.
- Push yourself - push yourself out of your comfort zone as much as you can. If any opportunities come up for public speaking, presentations, training course, conferences and events, take them! All they will do is build your confidence, knowledge and experience.
- Read - there is so much amazing content out there, whether it’s in books, websites or online courses such as Google Garage. Any free time you have just soak up as much as you can, it’ll only help you develop and improve.
- Enjoy it! - the digital world is so engaging, there’s always something new and innovative taking place. Everyday is different!