I have recently taken on an apprenticeship with The Juice Academy, a social media and digital marketing course created by Tangerine. The apprenticeship involves marketing, social media, SEO and so much more. Through the apprenticeship I was placed with Businesscomparison.com, an online platform which helps businesses find clarity whilst making important decisions.
2015 has changed my view on so many things, one thing in particular shocked me; my opinion of apprenticeships. Like many people, my view was very stereotypical - traditionally people would think of apprenticeships as training for various trades, such as plumbing or building. But now I’ve found there is something for everyone.
One day a friend of mine suggested The Juice Academy. At first I wasn’t sure about the idea of having a career in social media, but then I realised it’s something I literally spend every single day using! Whether uploading an image on Instagram or jumping on a trend on Twitter and sharing my view, social is everywhere and now is the perfect time to make a career out of it.
So this was the scary part - like any other job you have to impress through an interview. Luckily I have worked since the age of 16, so I didn’t sweat it too much! I arrived at the interview (as did 4 others - all boys) so I was representing the girls (this later turned out to be the same in the office at Businesscomparison.com)!
“Kareema, you’re first” I was told, and my heart started to pound. We got in the lift and went down to the first floor, to a glass box room where the interviews were taking place. Three men rose to shake my hand; Tim Moss, Adair Cameron and Philip Brennan. At first I thought the situation was going to be extremely formal as is usually expected, but within the first instance one of them cracked a joke, making the interview feel like it lasted 2 minutes when it was actually 10. The questions and responses just flowed and instantly I thought to myself, ‘I can see myself working here.’
Upstairs all of the candidates had begun a written task, which I started once my face to face interview had ended. Four candidates later, I started to assume I was going to be sent on my way, but little did I expect, my name was called again: “Kareema please can you come back downstairs, the guys have a few more questions for you.”
Is this a good sign or a bad sign? That was the only thing going through my mind. I entered the glass box room again, and all three of the men smiled at me. I let my shoulders relax, this must be good right? Yes.
Phil, the MD of Businesscomparison.com began discussing my role, Tim mentioned my existing job and asked if I would stay there part time. After a short conversation Phil said he would be in touch by the following afternoon.
When I got home my parents asked me how it went. I re-lived the interview and asked for their opinion before revealing mine, and received encouraging feedback and support from them both. The next day I had work at 5pm and I still hadn’t received a call, so I started to worry and morale started to decrease.
‘One missed call.’
After seeing the missed call my heart jumped, I called back and asked if everything was okay. I was told that Phil had been trying to get hold of me, having stared at my calls and emails for over 24 hours straight I was confused. So I rang the office first, Phil was not there – MORE suspense! Okay, okay Kareema, calm down they said he will ring you as soon as he is back in the office.
‘Philip Brennan’ - he was calling me! I answered and after explaining that he had had the wrong number for me simply stated, “We want you.” Trying to hold my excitement in, I laugh and thank him. “See you soon Kareema.”
The popularity of apprenticeships has increased considerably over the past five years, even more so now that there are so many different and diverse roles you can pursue, whether that is engineering, health and social care, IT and business skills or even media and photography.
The Government recently set out its agenda to ambitiously create three million apprenticeships by 2020. With this lofty target in mind, Skills Minister Nick Boles plans to make apprenticeships more appealing to both business and young adults by levelling the playing field and having apprenticeships recognised as equal to degrees. He also plans to change the reputation that apprenticeships may have. He wants employers and employees to see them as an equal in the academic world. Meanwhile, George Osborne has promised to use a proportion of the money cut from the welfare budget towards creating the three million apprenticeships.
For me as an apprentice, there are valuable qualifications that can be gained through working and learning on the job. Benefits include actual work experience, developing social skills in a working environment, and a new level of understanding for a working environment. Also, recent stats have shown that University students could be left with £53,000 worth of debt, as a grant becomes a loan. Whereas no financial commitment is required as an apprentice – indeed you earn as you learn!
Personally I think apprenticeships are a step in the right direction, as an apprentice for an SME I am delighted to hear that changes are being made, working for any business from the early age of 16 can seem very hard and scary but I think with an apprenticeship you are slowly introduced into the work life and provided with a valuable education and skills, which not only benefit the apprentice but also the business.