What’s it like to be an apprentice? | November 2019

11th December 2019

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!

My 1st Marketing Show!

This month I headed to my first professional marketing show and I’ve got to say it was pretty great! I got to learn more about B2B Marketing (business to business marketing) and how companies talk to other companies about selling a service or product. I had not previously considered this approach within marketing before, so this was a very interesting concept to explore.

I visited the event with my manager and we first went from stand to stand together discussing what the businesses were offering.  Later my manager decided it would be good for my development to have a go myself at gathering some useful information and networking with a company of my choice. I was a little nervous about my manager’s ‘throw me in the deep end’ tactics at first. I chose to get information about a CRM (customer relationship management) system and how this could benefit our business. And I managed to do it! I know- I’m just as shocked! Don’t get me wrong I was really nervous, but I just told myself to breathe and try to act confident- after all the reps don’t know anything more than your job title and your place of work. So, you have the advantage – top tip to remember. Saying that, I thought it was helpful practice for the future as if I  attend more of these events I would be able to network by myself, with experience and confidence. And I wouldn’t just act like a cool cucumber… I would be the cool cucumber!

During the exhibition I also got to sit in on some seminars with keynote speakers. I was particularly intrigued about the marketing psychology which included steps such as priming and repeated exposure, techniques that marketers use to entice customers to buy their products on their websites (basically, reasons why you might buy a product). And it was really cool understanding how sociology/ psychology links with marketing, being a psychological geek myself.  Wait- that came out wrong! But in all honesty, it was great to have the opportunity to speak to other marketers and learn more about their expertise in the field, which will benefit me, as I can apply these techniques directly and leverage my skill set.

 

What I’ve been up to…

This month most of my tasks have involved a TON of writing, but I do work in Marketing so what else would you expect! One of my main tasks had been taking minutes at the Sales and Marketing Strategy meeting. This was a bit stressful because we had to get through a large amount of content, where I had to take the minutes as well as provide my own input. Really putting my multi-tasking skills to the test! But I think I managed to keep up relatively well, which again is surprising of me! Within the meeting I got to learn more about what business development is and new business for the company. An insight, that as an apprentice, I never thought I would be able to have. So that was very refreshing and surprising!

I also was tasked with creating a PowerPoint reflecting on my first months at InterLearn as an apprentice. Basically, a day in my life, but with photos and words! It was a bit difficult working out how I was going to format this, but once I mastered it, it was a doddle! How did you do it? I hear you ask (hopefully).  Well, throughout my apprenticeship I had been keeping a reflective learner journal on OneFile, an e-portfolio for apprentices. This meant that I could easily refer to the information and pick out what I needed, which was a real life saver! On the topic of OneFile, I also had a meeting with Lanny, the resident OneFile queen! She taught me how to create a learning assessment and how to add the necessary evidence. This really made me feel more confident in my ability to use the software. And also means I can now add evidence of progression and learning when needed and easily map it to my units without forgetting about it!  See – I told you it was a lifesaver!

Overall, I’ve had a really great month, even though my hands are a bit sore! Learning more about the field I’m working in and seeing first-hand how I am progressing through my apprenticeship from OneFile. I really hope I continue to expand my skillset and learn more!

I would definitely recommend pursuing an apprenticeship if you want to gain experience and #earnwhilstyoulearn because I’m growing into a more resilient and independent person always striving to succeed, every day. If you’re an employer, I’d also encourage you to take on an apprentice because I can say first hand it’s a really good investment for you and them. I can’t wait to see what the next month brings!

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