Apprentices in the Creative Industry

14 March, 2016
Industry Insights
5 min read.

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It’s National Apprenticeship Week, which means one thing for EDGE – a celebration of all our apprentices both past and present and everything that they bring to our company!

EDGE Creative started their apprenticeship scheme back in 2013 and we have seen a number of individuals pass through our doors, with some gaining a permanent job at the end. It’s no secret that the creative industry can be one of the hardest industries to break into without experience and by providing an apprenticeship, we help to give young people that much needed lift into the career of their choice.

Gov.uk reported that the creative sector is worth £84.1 billion per year to the UK economy, generating nearly £9.6million an hour. For many, apprenticeships within the creative sector are a go-to option to unlock doors that would otherwise be firmly shut.

Our very own apprentice Lydia gives her views on what it means to be an apprentice at a creative agency. Lydia joined EDGE 11 months ago and decided that an apprenticeship was the best route for her rather than university. She felt that she would be better off working and learning at the same time. Here is what being an apprentice means to Lydia:

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How did you hear about apprenticeships at EDGE Creative?

I heard about the apprenticeship at EDGE from a friend who was apprenticed there. We got to talking about it and how they enjoyed it and seemed to me like a great place to be. They mentioned that EDGE was looking to hire another apprentice, so encouraged me to send in my CV.

What are your day to day responsibilities?

My responsibilities include managing the social media accounts of our clients. This involves producing content for them and reaching out on platforms where possible. I also assist the account executives and managers with any work that they require help with. Including the odd web job such as layer a website with content through the content management system (CMS).

What has it been like working at EDGE alongside fitting in college work?

It’s been a lot easier than I initially expected. Seeing as I usually have one month to complete a certain amount of units, I’ve worked out a process where I do a little bit each day. This means that I’m constantly adding to the unit instead of rushing to get something finished in days because I haven’t managed the time well. Also, I know that if I have any questions about a unit I can ask around at EDGE and someone will be able to help me gain a better understanding.

How much contact do you have with your college while on the apprenticeship?

Earlier in my apprenticeship it was required to go into the college once per month to complete class based units. Outside of this time, I can contact my tutor or assessor by email or phone with anything I need help with. They will also contact me with some questions about how I’m getting on and any changes at the college that may impact my course.

What are the best things about being an apprentice?

The best thing about being an apprentice is that I get a taste of what work life is all about, while learning and building my skills at the same time through the college. Being an apprentice has allowed me to apply the knowledge I get from a course into my daily work straight away without delays. I also gain a nationally recognised qualification without going through university and have the chance to go to the next level.

It’s great that I have a massive support system from not only my colleagues here at EDGE but from the college as well. I know I can bring up any questions or concerns and that they’ll be dealt with professionally and with the aim to help me.

An apprenticeship is also a welcome addition on my CV as it adds to my previous education but also shows that I have at least one year’s worth of experience in the industry.

Are there any negatives about being an apprentice?

I personally haven’t encountered any negatives about being an apprentice in general and specifically at EDGE. The benefits of an apprenticeship are very worthwhile and for myself, there was nothing that would have made me hesitant.

Apprenticeships have recently been gaining a better name as many used to look down on them. It was considered to be only for trades and labour for very little cost compared to a full-time employee. There was an idea that apprentices did all the little jobs like the coffee or lunch run and that they had little value and it was a waste of time. That’s no longer the case – everyone is seeing not only how they can benefit from employing an apprentice but also how they can give them the most realistic and valuable experience of what working life is like.

What do you want to do after your apprenticeship?

After my apprenticeship, I would like to move onto Level 4, which would be a more in-depth version of what I’m currently doing at the college. It would be the equivalent of a foundation degree and I am very keen to learn about my opportunities to move onto this level.

Do you want to continue working within the creative industry?

Yes. I am very much enjoying helping businesses improve their brand awareness and contributing ideas that could potentially help them. My interest in marketing has only grown from the start of my course early last year and I am constantly impressed with the range of research that is consistently being conducted and how it can impact targeting to a specific audience for example. There’s always something new to learn every day.

What advice would you give to other people considering taking on an apprenticeship within the creative industry?

My advice would be to consider why you want to do an apprenticeship. If you think that it will be easy and you’ll be able to cruise through with minimal effort, it’s not for you. Being placed in a business means that you need to prove you can contribute to what they do. You’ll be expected to show that you can handle work and learning at the same time.

It’s a good idea to attend any apprentice workshops and events that you can to speak with advisors who will be able to help you consider your options. There may even be people that you know who are or were an apprentice – ask them what their experience was like and go from there.

Choosing an apprenticeship was the best choice for me and I would recommend it to anyone who feels as though uni isn’t for them.

If you could do it all again, would you still become an apprentice?

Yes, I would still become an apprentice. The experience has been very valuable. I can understand what work life is like while being able to learn at the same time.

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At EDGE Creative we find that taking on apprentices adds a lot to both the composition and morale of team and the business as a whole. We are very training and development focused as a company and like to see our youngest employees grow within their careers.

Mark Panayides, Managing Director said “I have been an advocate of apprenticeships throughout my career. Apprentices work for us because we believe in training and developing the minds of tomorrow. We do this in our own way and through our own culture. We have had many successes as a result.”

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EDGE team member

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

EDGECreative

EDGE routinely feature guest blogs written by key industry professionals covering a wide variety of topics. Their insight is crucial to our development as a marketing agency and helps us learn about and adapt to new industries, ideals, and business practices. The partnership we have with our guest authors helps us both grow side-by-side and brings a fresh perspective on topics both old and new.