Things you should know about enrolling on a Marketing Apprenticeship: An apprentice’s perspective 15 Nov 2022
Our people are our biggest asset. That’s why we’re committed to facilitating professional development here at Grisdales. Most of the team head down an industry-specific training path with the likes of Propertymark, but this September Lauren enrolled on a Level 4 Marketing Executive apprenticeship with Apprentify. Here she gives us the low down on her first month as a fully-fledged apprentice.
Tell us a bit about yourself
I joined the team in 2017 as an Executive Assistant, fresh out of college after completing an HND in Business Management. Over the years my role has gradually transitioned into a marketing-orientated position and in late 2021, I became the Marketing and Communications Manager for the business.
Why did you choose an apprenticeship?
We all have professional development plans (PDP) at Grisdales. After stepping into my new role, Rachel (MD) and I agreed that formal training should form part of my new PDP. We initially considered a one-off, classroom-based course with the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) but felt the more hands-on approach to learning seen in apprenticeships would be more beneficial, so this was the route we decided to go down.
Where did you hear about the apprenticeship?
Because the CIM’s qualifications are professionally recognised, I headed here first to see what apprenticeship opportunities they had on offer. I came across Apprentify as they are an official apprenticeship partner of the CIM, which means their course is mapped against the CIM’s Level 4 qualification.
How does the apprenticeship work?
Twenty percent of an apprentice’s working week must be dedicated towards their course. For a typical employee, that’s four days in the workplace and 1 day studying. Apprentify’s apprenticeships are offered remotely. I have access to an online portal which lays out my learning plan and I take part in virtual classroom sessions with other apprentices 1-2 times a month.
What qualifications will you get at the end of the apprenticeship?
I’ll be awarded a Level 4 Marketing Apprenticeship which will allow me to join the CIM as an affiliate member. This means I’ll be gain access to a wealth of marketing resources including learning tools and networking opportunities.
I’ve also chosen to sit the CIM’s Level 4 Certificate in Professional Digital Marketing exam through Apprentify’s pathway to mastery. This was an optional addon on the apprenticeship and I’ll complete it in late 2023.
What does a typical week look like?
When you’re an apprentice it’s very important to be organised. Unlike classroom-based learning, you’re pretty much in charge of your own studies. I tend to kick off the week by planning out what my working week will look like, factoring in upcoming apprenticeship tasks alongside work-based activities such as meetings or reports.
There’s usually at least one apprenticeship task to complete each week. This could be an independent-study task or a virtual classroom session.
Independent-study tasks can vary. Sometimes this could be one of Apprentify’s own e-modules and other times it could be one of HubSpot’s online courses, like the Business Blogging Course I recently completed. One of the first tasks I was asked to do on the apprenticeship was learning how to put together a PESTEL analysis for estate agencies. Last month I also took Rightmove’s Anti-Money Laundering course to refresh my understanding of industry-specific laws. This formed part of my self-directed studies – something an apprenticeship is also expected to do – and will count towards my overall study hours on the apprenticeship.
Virtual classroom sessions typically run for a full day. Using the likes of Zoom, I’ll meet with my Development Coach, Rebecca Craven, and other apprentices on the course. These sessions are interactive, and we’ll often spend time in groups putting our new skills to the test. The other apprentices are from all walks of life up and down the country and these sessions allow me to get an insight into other industries too – I’ve learned a little about the world of car sales and recruitment and picked up some handy tips and tricks we could adopt in estate agency!
The rest of the week is spent carrying out day-to-day tasks and it’s here that I get to put my new skills into practice. For example, a recent virtual classroom session covered marketing analytics and reports. From this classroom I’ll be able to review our existing reports and drill down on what data is valuable and how to use it to plan for the future.
Some weeks I’ll catch up with other managers to see how I can support their department. I recently met with Destiny Evans, Land and New Homes Manager at Grisdales and Land and New Homes Network founder, Kevin Ellis. We discussed collaborating to help maximise exposure for this arm of the business. As we’ve covered some SEO techniques on the apprenticeship, I now have a good understanding of how I can restructure our website to help reach those key target audiences online.
Other day-to-day tasks I complete include managing Grisdales’ social media profiles, crafting content for digital channels or updating some of the company’s marketing collateral to name a few.
What have you learned so far?
PRINT IS NOT DEAD!
I was very surprised to learn how effective print advertising is during a session on the different types of marketing channels available.
I’m almost at the end of my first unit – Marketing Channels. I’ve learned about omnichannel marketing, sales funnels, customer relationship management tools and customer journey maps. I’ve been able to develop my understanding of Google Analytics and intend on furthering this even more via my self-directed studies.
How involved is your employer?
Rachel, my manager, is as invested in the apprenticeship as I am. She’s planning on taking part in the monthly coaching sessions I’ll have with my Development Coach. Here she’ll be able to put forward topics she’d like the apprenticeship to cover such as copywriting as we’re about to update our main marketing brochure.
What advice would you give others thinking about doing an apprenticeship?
Most people enter a business as an apprentice, but I was already an employee before starting the apprenticeship. I’d highly recommend exploring this route if you’re looking for formal training as an existing employee. Because the apprenticeship is spread out over a year or two, you’re able to really hone in on one specific area, develop those skills and then put them into practice in the workplace before moving on to another area. I think this hands-on approach is a more sustainable and effective way of learning, working better than a one-off course where everything is crammed into a weeklong session.