Onwards and upwards! What completing an Apprenticeship at WSA was like and what the future holds…

2 years ago, we took on our first Apprentice, Molly McCarthy. Fast forward 24 months and Molly has now completed her Level 3 in Digital Marketing. She has since taken up a full-time position with the agency and been promoted to Digital Marketing Assistant. But what have the past 2 years been like and what does the future hold?

Why did you choose an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship wasn’t what I had initially planned after finishing my GCSEs. Like most students, I decided to stay on and do my A Levels, without much of an idea about what I wanted to do career wise. I soon realised that this wasn’t the path for me, as I wanted to learn things practically and utilise the skills I knew I had in the work place, however I had no work experience.

So, I took it upon myself to contact MK College. They met with me and discussed my personal skills and interests (which were predominantly writing and social media) which led to me deciding that the Digital Marketing apprenticeship was the right choice for me.

How did you know WSA were looking for an Apprentice?

I initially looked on the MK College website, but soon discovered you could apprenticeship hunt on gov.uk too. That is where I found an advert from WSA looking for a Digital Marketing Apprentice.

Why WSA?

The initial attraction to WSA was the job advert. The day to day activities sounded like something I’d be interested in. I was even more drawn to WSA after going in for my interview, the open layout of the office came across as a friendly place to work; people were chatting and working together and it showed the positive relationships within the office/ I also received  a warm welcome which put me at ease.

What the company stood for and the work ethic they followed also appealed to me. The core values of the agency are: Authenticity, Affinity, Authority, Approachability and Agility, which makes up the friendly, professional and creative team that I now know. The idea of being open minded to ideas and thinking outside of the box sparked my interest as I knew this would be a way for me to get involved and boost my confidence within the workplace.

How did you balance college/work?

Initially, the college and work balance were four days at work andone day at college. This was a chance to learn the basics of digital marketing and I put my learning to practise at work. Once I started my course work, I utilised my time at college to focus on getting this completed, along with WSA allowing me to use ‘learning and development’ time each week to work on this and other training courses. In terms of revision of college exams and prepping for coursework, my manager was fantastic at giving me 121 time, helping advise me on the best ways to execute long form writing in my coursework and also putting into practise what might come up in exams in the activities I did day to day.

I am lucky enough to work in a multi-service agency, so I was able to spend time with members of the Web team, shadowing them and spending time with them to understand what I needed for my coding exam.

For all areas of college work, I had plans of what I was doing each week on my college day and anything else I would be doing on other days. This plan made balancing work and college much easier and meant that I didn’t fall back on client business, which worked as I fortunately passed all my exams/coursework.

What have you loved most about being an Apprentice at WSA?

There are so many things I loved, so pinpointing what I loved most is tricky! However, I would say starting fresh within an industry and having the correct tools and people around me to develop professionally and personally. By becoming an Apprentice, I was able to join a team of professionals who were aware I had no experience, but were willing to train me up and teach me what I needed to know; while also gaining the time to sit in a classroom and learn from peers in the same position as me, as well as access to resources to learn more about the industry.

What qualifications did you gain from your Apprentice?

I achieved:

  • Pass in Level 3 Digital Marketing
  • Pass in CIM Level 4 in Professional Marketing
  • Pass in Principles of Coding (BCS exam)
  • Pass in Principles of Marketing (BCS exam)

Furthermore, I have had access to a variety of online courses and have gained certificates in:

  • Google Analytics: Basics
  • Google Analytics: Advanced
  • Google Digital Garage
  • Marketing in the 21st Century (OU course)

What are your goals in the future?

Now the I have progressed to Digital Marketing Assistant; I can support each area of the team. In the future I would like to have a specialism in content/organic social media. To achieve my goal, I will work closely with my team and manager to continue gaining experience and complete more relevant courses that will improve my knowledge.

A word from our Operations Director on their experience of having an Apprentice in the team…

We’ve gone from having never had an apprentice before to adding three to the team in under two years, so it’s fair to say it’s changed the way we’ve looked at bringing new talent into the agency. What I love most is the energy and enthusiasm that team members like Molly have brought in and from a management perspective we’ve found we can impart the habits, skills and processes that matter to our business whilst developing important professional abilities. – Austin Walters, Operations Director

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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