Joe Cafferty: My Apprentice Journey So Far

Where I started

A lot has changed since my first day at WSA almost 10 months ago. I had an idea of what working/learning in the marketing industry would look like before starting at WSA, but never in my wildest dreams could I have predicted how different the landscape would be when I started. My first day was back in March 2020, 2 weeks of normality was all I had before the crisis of the pandemic struck me to the ‘new normal’ of working from home. 

Since my GCSE’s, I knew the field I wanted to grow a career in since my GSCE’s, and with my A-levels ending, I knew I was best suited in an apprenticeship role. I wanted to learn things practically and utilise the skills, I knew I had in the workplace; however, I had no work experience, and this is what made my search slightly difficult. I was narrow-minded straight after leaving Sixth form as I only had a focus on Digital Marketing and never considered other avenues into the industry.

Why WSA?

It was only when I took it upon myself to contact MK College, that they met with me and discussed my personal skills and interests (which were predominantly writing and social media). This led to them recommending the WSA Apprenticeship in Customer Services and after my interview and meeting the team, it was a no-brainer, I wanted to work at WSA.

How the course helps my role

At the first glance of the course, the specialists did not seem like it would be a good fit for a role in the Communications industry. You would be wrong! No industry would benefit more. My course has helped me to observe and identify customer behaviours, understand the technical skills behind leadership styles and the processes involved in dealing with customer conflicts. These are all crucial skills that have helped me to deliver a high-quality service. Balancing my work life with my studies has helped me build my time management skills as well as allowed me to take what I learn every week and put it into practice in real workplace situations.

Why the change?

My original role was within the Account Management Team as an Account Executive Apprentice. Before starting at WSA I assumed that my progression would only be in this team, however, the senior management team within WSA encouraged me to follow my aspirations with changing lanes and dipping my toes into other areas of the business. Jane Hayward (CEO of WSA) had told me on my first day that the Accounts team is a great place for anybody to start, you are in contact with all areas of the business. After spending some time during the initial lockdown, it became apparent to me that Project Management specifically for website projects was an area that I would like to progress in. With the constant growth of the digital market, this became even more apparent. A point I later discussed with Jerry Taylor (MD at WSA) on a socially distanced walking meeting we had.

From the start of my WSA career, I was encouraged to push towards a career that I wanted. This is what WSA do they create opportunities for their employees to strive towards bettering their careers.

My future after my course ends

In this uncertain time, it can be hard to know what the future will bring after my Apprenticeship I want to focus on the Project Management process developing this into a specialism through courses such as Prince 2 and Agile. With this in mind, I will observe and work closely with my team and manager to continue to develop my experience and knowledge.

Austin Walters
Austin Walters

Austin Walters is Operations Director at WSA The Communications Agency. He steers the agency’s digital offering and works with all departments and marketing disciplines. Austin writes about business modernisation, management, sales and digital marketing. A young son, a busy job and social life mean that leisure time can be hard to come by, but he spends it keeping active and can often be found running, hiking, surfing or bending into shapes.

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