As you may have seen on social media, it’s #AdultLearnersWeek this week and I thought I’d personally celebrate it, as it means so much to me within my Marketing role. Not only has it given me the opportunity I currently have, but without the Employability Skills Programme, I may have never overcome barriers to starting my Marketing Career.
I currently have a Master’s degree in Advertising and Brand Design, alongside a Business Administration NVQ Level 3 Apprenticeship. Which of these has been most beneficial within my career journey so far? My Apprenticeship. As someone who’s tried both options, the benefits of an Apprenticeship outweigh the degree every single time.
Let’s rewind back to before I started university, I was once a painfully shy girl who didn’t even feel brave enough to watch harry potter, let alone study a degree that’s highly competitive, but somehow I took the jump. My degree involved regular idea pitches, client work and in most cases ‘pushing yourself out of your comfort zone’. I absolutely loved the digital/social elements of it and found myself specifically interested in the overall ‘customer’ experience.
The industry seemed so exciting with constant social/digital developments; I just wanted to be involved in it all. In my final year of university, I ran for student president, something I would have never imagined doing as I had such a fear of public speaking and low self-belief. How was I going to convince others to trust me, when I didn’t even believe in my own ability? All I really wanted to do was push my own limits to see exactly what I was capable of. Although I didn’t win it was a truly unforgettable experience, giving me a new found confidence in myself. Shortly after my degree, I came back down to earth with a bump having received a student loan bill for over £50k, without an interview I sight. I was at an all-time low and I’d had the wrong mindset, assuming I’d automatically get a job with my degree.
One day whilst feeling sorry for myself in the jobcentre, I was introduced to Deb and Jane, the Engagement officers for the Employability Skills Programme. They were so friendly and encouraging; I left that day with my spirits already lifted. After meeting with them I joined the programme, just to see how it could help me as I felt I had no other option. After a few weeks of re-creating my CV, working on my interview skills and confidence with my tutor Colin, I applied for a Marketing job with Itec Skills and Employment, which Deb had brought to my attention.
I’ve got to admit my initial attitude was negative, I felt so disheartened at the thought of starting an Apprenticeship after all of my hard work in University, but I can honestly say it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done. Fast forward a year, I’ve gained so many vocational skills, I’ve worked alongside all departments within the business, I’ve written award applications, attended events and ceremonies, the list is endless. Most of all I’ve gained a Level 3 Business and Administration qualification, giving me that business insight and knowledge that I wouldn’t have previously had. My confidence is now on the rise and I’ve started to believe in myself again thanks to everyone involved in my journey with Itec.
The Employability Skills Programme isn’t a one size fits all, just like the Apprenticeship programme isn’t just for school leavers. If I’d been more aware of the Apprenticeship alternative before university, I would have taken that option instead knowing the continuing list of benefits.
By starting an Apprenticeship after my degree, I was able to get my foot on the ladder and kick start my Marketing career, whilst gaining so many workplace skills. I couldn’t recommend it enough and working within my role, I get to see on a day to day basis exactly how many lives these programmes change.
If you’re reading this and want to start your journey, I encourage you to get in touch with our team on 02920 663800.
Kate Lloyd, (Marketing Administrator)