In November 2020, at the age of 22, I embarked on a journey that would change my life forever - a Digital Marketing Apprenticeship. Little did I know just how transformative this experience would be, considering the unique circumstances I found myself in at the time.
In this blog, I'll share my personal journey from novice to Marketing Executive, reflecting on the decision to choose an apprenticeship over university, and the unexpected challenges I faced along the way.
Going into an apprenticeship at Optix was nerve-racking, but also incredibly exciting.
Although I'd had jobs before, mainly in supermarkets and restaurants, they were far removed from the world of digital marketing or office life in general. But, at the age of 22 and with no defined career path, this leap into the unknown was one that I had to take.
However, it didn't start off as smoothly as I had hoped.
Starting an apprenticeship during the COVID-19 pandemic meant that all of my interviews for the position were conducted online, and I didn't have the chance to meet most of my colleagues in person for six months, after I was given the opportunity at Optix.
Hopefully this is something that apprentices now don’t have to go through, but if there is something to take away from that, it’s that it’ll be hard at the start.
You’ll be learning new things, meeting new people, having meetings about work that you don’t quite understand yet, and you might be confused and regretting your decision, but that’s absolutely fine.
It’s an important part of the journey that will help build your confidence and teach you to perform under pressure, both traits which are always handy.
At 22, I still had the option to go to university, but ultimately, I didn’t really want to.
What made an apprenticeship more appealing than university, was the fact that I was going to earn while I learn.
Yes, that famous expression.
Although it wasn’t great money at all, the fact that I could learn an entirely new skill, while getting a little bit of money in return, suited me better than having to rely on student finances.
It’s a personal choice of course, and I think that’s important to understand before you make your decision. Some people suit university better, other’s apprenticeships.
Instead of going to lectures, I studied at Exeter College for nearly two years during my Digital Marketing Apprenticeship. This was for one day a week, and although I’m not one for studying, it was a blast.
I met incredible people who have become lasting friends, and the combination of theory and practical experience was one of the main reasons I was able to learn so quick.
With apprenticeships, it’s a lot more hands on, rather than university where you attend lectures and read textbooks in your own time.
Of course, there’s studying during an apprenticeship, but I’m one of those people that learns better when I’m actually doing something, and thankfully at Optix, I was surrounded by great people who didn’t mind showing me how things worked.
While university is undoubtedly a fantastic choice for many, I realised it wasn't for me.
Apprenticeships provide a hands-on, real-world education, which allowed me to build my career from the ground up.
Working in an office was a world apart from what I was accustomed to, but it was an enlightening experience.
The structured environment, daily routines, and collaborative atmosphere challenged me to grow both personally and professionally.
My apprenticeship taught me how to handle the intricacies of digital marketing and introduced me to a team of talented individuals who mentored and guided me throughout the process.
Also, going from working 12 hour shifts on a Sunday to a 9-5, was pretty good.
Now, at almost 25, I've been with Optix for almost three years.
This journey has been nothing short of incredible, and starting off with zero knowledge of digital marketing, I've worked my way up to the position of Marketing Executive. This growth and transformation, both personally and in my career, have been immensely rewarding.
In hindsight, my decision to choose a Digital Marketing Apprenticeship was the right one for me. I've not only learned the ropes of an industry I'm passionate about, but I've also gained invaluable experience and met some great people along the way.
As you can probably tell, I’m a big advocate for apprenticeships, I think they’re underrated.
They offer a way to enter the workforce while continuing to learn, grow, and earn, and they provide a unique opportunity to bridge the gap between education and real-world experience. While university education is undoubtedly valuable, it may not be the right fit for everyone.
This Digital Marketing Apprenticeship has proven that sometimes, taking a different path can lead to the most rewarding destinations.
If you're passionate about a field and eager to learn, don't hesitate to consider the alternative of an apprenticeship.
Although I’ve never considered myself a ‘voice’ for anything, I feel like it’s important to share my journey, as it may convince you to give them a try.