Andy Flynn – Digital Marketing Manager at Pixel Kicks – on why businesses should put apprenticeships at the top of their agenda
The popularity of apprenticeships has grown massively with more and more young people and businesses in all sectors realising the benefits they bring.
I know from personal experience that doing an apprenticeship is a fantastic way to kick start a career. The upsides for the apprentice go on and on and include; earning while you learn, receiving recognised qualifications, gaining independence and respect, enjoying ongoing and personalised support, gaining real work experience, improving your employability and developing your skills.
Whilst businesses can make the most of government funding, save on recruitment fees, improve their service delivery, support their employees into essential roles, develop high calibre staff and secure the very best new talent. This approach is something that Pixel Kicks has been championing for years. Our digital marketing team is now six strong and all started as apprentices including the department’s three most senior members. Emma Clure, our Senior Digital Marketer, who joined in 2012; Jamie Swain, our Head of PPC who arrived in 2013; and myself.
After leaving school, I followed the well-trodden path to university, but I ended up leaving after just one year. I knew from the start that it wasn’t for me, but I felt pressured into it by a sixth form that was only interested in statistics and not the individual. I admit that I was naïve - I didn’t really know much about apprenticeships and what I did know was outdated. My cynicism of them was formed years before, but as soon as I did my research and understood the options my optimism raised up and my future working life suddenly had clarity: Having the ability to learn and earn made complete sense to me.
My route to Pixel Kicks was via the Juice Academy in Manchester. Founded by Sandy Lindsay MBE, it’s the UK’s first industry-led social media apprenticeship scheme that gives young people the chance to work with some of the UK’s biggest brands including UNILAD, Jump Nation and AMC Cinemas.
The support and guidance that I received gave me direction and the opportunity to really build on my strengths. Digital marketing is a huge practice area with various disciplines, each with a very specific required skillset. I knew that I wanted to work in digital marketing but I wasn’t sure in where or how. The mentorship I received from the Juice Academy was invaluable and then learning on job meant I could try my hand out at a few areas until I settled on what I most enjoyed and was best at. I thought I wanted to do social, but I’ve ended up building a career in SEO. Having that flexibility would never have been possible if I’d carried on with my degree as I’d have been pigeonholed.
As a business, Pixel Kicks has also benefitted massively from developing its apprenticeship programme. The firm is full of young and dynamic people who are passionate about all things digital. They’ve grown up in a world driven by digital, tech and social so they know how to respond to it and use it to be effect. That insight and natural understanding of it is important on many levels – both culturally and commercially.
I could enthuse about apprenticeships all day, but I’d just encourage every young person and business to invest some time in researching their options. It might just be a decision that they’ll never regret.
This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Pixel Kicks .
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