With over 200 different types of apprenticeships, available it’s easy to see why 83% of employers rely on apprenticeship programmes to provide a skilled workforce of the future. With National Apprenticeship Week 2016 well underway, I decided to share why apprenticeships and internships make such a difference – and give some insight into my very own internship at the lorries.
For some school-leavers, they have no real idea what they want to do. For me, the future was much clearer. I’d always set my sights on a career in PR. And my first two years studying PR at Bournemouth University did nothing to change those sights. But it was only when I managed to get a year-long placement with tech PR agency Red Lorry Yellow Lorry that it really hit home that PR was for me. Not only do you get the opportunity to learn on the job but also be paid for your efforts, giving you an extra incentive to work hard!
It was an eye-opening experience and offered a glimpse into what a career in PR was really like. Having the opportunity to meet and pitch journalists, write press releases, run social media campaigns and attend events made it all make sense. In fact two months into my placement I was attending my first trade show (IBC) in Amsterdam. It was a fantastic experience and really threw me in at the deep end. This hands-on-approach carried on throughout the year and gave me a real chance to put the theory I’d learned into practice.
In fact I enjoyed my placement year so much that after graduating I came back to the lorries! My year’s placement saw me working across all of the teams within the business -from media and entertainment to IT and everything in between. Being able to gain so much experience and work in numerous sectors was great. The flexibility really allowed me to understand each industry and contribute across the business.
Ultimately you want to get the most out of your time as an apprentice but experiences can vary dramatically. Not all companies, or interns for that matter, get it right. As an intern you need to be willing to work hard and take on tasks that push you out of your comfort zone. Nobody likes to make mistakes but learning from them is part of the experience. And I can honestly say it was that rare slip-up which taught me the most. Having the support of my manager was important and her guidance through difficult tasks helped me to tackle situations I was unsure of. Embracing interns not only brings the best out of them but also provides the greatest benefit for the business. This type of culture is key.
It’s now been two and a half years since I re-joined. And it’s great to look back on how far I’ve come. I’m now working in the creative technology team as a senior account executive, where I’m responsible for the day-to-day running of some amazing accounts. I look after everything from a motion capture company, Vicon, to a company that creates some of the world’s most well-known fonts, Monotype. Every day is so varied. And all the teams are great fun and hardworking, including this year’s interns Lily and Alex, also from Bournemouth University.
Apprenticeships definitely provide a valuable stepping stone into the world of PR. And provided you pick the right company with the right support and right culture, the world is really your oyster. The lorries are no strangers to how valuable apprenticeships are. In fact we’ve just kicked off our 2016/2017 internship program. You’ve read about my lorry experience. Why not start yours?