What’s it like to be an apprentice? | March 2020

3rd April 2020

I’m Sophie Cooper, an apprentice at InterLearn working in the marketing team, studying towards a Level 4 Business Administration Apprenticeship.  I’ll be sharing my experiences with you as I progress through my course, giving a realistic account of what it’s like to be an apprentice. So, if you’re interested in apprenticeships, hopefully you’ll enjoy this blog series and find it useful!

 

The new way of working…

This month has been a rollercoaster for all of us, changing our routines in unprecedented time to ensure that we are keeping safe but still keeping productive. Recently, InterLearn, took the decision to ask all employees to work remotely due to new restrictions put on place. This meant that I would be working from home every day, and I’ve got to say it’s been a very welcome change! As someone new to the marketing world, you quickly understand that most of what you do is down to technological advantages and the invention of the internet. So, to me this didn’t change my routine that much, as the majority of my day would be spent drafting copy for social media posts, researching essential sector and company information for the sales team and helping out colleagues whenever I can… most of which is done online! The only marked difference was that I couldn’t physically say a spontaneous hello to a colleague or have a quick catch up with them in the kitchen while the kettle boiled! However, the whole team has been introduced to Microsoft Teams, and we’ve started a daily virtual coffee break where you can sit down and catch up with your colleagues. It’s been really great seeing their faces, and understanding that even though you are working alone, you are still very much part of a team.

This month it’s been National Careers Week, a week dedicated to raising awareness of careers education and what can be done to increase #employability. As part of #NCW2020, I got to promote YANN- the Young Apprentice Ambassador Network. YANN is a group of driven apprentices and former apprentices who applied to share their experience to inspire the apprentices of the future. If would like to find out more, click here. As someone who is very passionate about apprenticeships (as you can hopefully tell from this blog!) I was very excited when I had provisionally been accepted onto this programme. Prior to starting my apprenticeship I carried out research about different educational pathways, learnt about different apprenticeship schemes and the many benefits of vocational education, which you can read more about here. So, to be part of a national initiative to talk to people about the different types of apprenticeships available and share my altogether positive experience (with that story yet to finish…) is something I am very proud of and I would highly recommend if you would like to help shape the apprentices of tomorrow.

 

What I’ve been up to…

One of my primary tasks this month was researching suppliers to provide promotional merchandise to support a new product launch. This involved me creating an excel spreadsheet and adding the relevant prices for a number of items from separate suppliers to it, allowing us to make swift comparisons between them. Within the spreadsheet I also used the formulas section and used a drop-down list to differentiate between the prices. This meant that me and the team could easily see the best prices and where to get the stock from. I also think this whole task really enhanced my verbal communication because like many of us I’m not the biggest fan of talking to new people, but found I was much more confident than I thought and was better at keeping a clear head if there was ever a problem, important as we were working towards a deadline. So these are all essential skills I feel I have developed and definitely believe I will be making further use of them in my career.

Some of my other activities this month included reviewing the analytics for our social media activity through HootSuite, a social media scheduling platform and reporting on these with commentary on the best performing posts and areas to improve on. I find this aspect of social media intriguing, learning more about how data and marketing work together. It’s also very helpful because I can see first-hand how all our social media platforms are performing; which means I can tailor the content accordingly and understand areas which need to be improved, enhancing my understanding of the digital marketing space.

This month saw me continue with scanning and saving learner workbooks to our data management system to help a colleague. This involved finding the necessary sections, scanning them and saving them in bulk to ensure all the essential areas had been documented both online and offline. I feel that this has advanced my general management skills and helped ensure that I have sound attention to detail which is very much needed for this exercise as this documented the apprentice’s learning and was vital for them to showcase their progression in their apprenticeship.

Overall, I’ve had a really interesting and positive month at InterLearn. While my working life might now be a bit different, I still have that drive to be the best I can and really progress in my apprenticeship. I can safely say I’ve had a really great month and had a lot of fun learning more about my colleagues when I was catching up with them during elevenses. For now, though, due to the change in circumstances, I’ll be signing off for a while. But do remember we are all in this together. If you’re a prospective apprentice or an employer interested in apprenticeships I would highly recommend them, helping people to grow into a more resilient and independent person who always strives to succeed, every day. And I’d like to think that if you were to ask my manager, based on her view of me, she would tell you that it’s a great thing to do too!

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