It’s National Apprenticeship Week and as any sentimental person would, what better time than now, to look back on my journey as an Apprentice at Speed; and why this route should be on the cards for more post-graduate students.
But first a bit of background on National Apprenticeship Week. Initially introduced in the UK in 2007, the initiative aimed to highlight the benefits apprentices can give to individuals, work environments and the general economy. And the associated figures do all the talking! Expecting to add £7bn to the economy by 2029, apprentices will have a 300% return on investment… that’s pretty hefty!
And not all journeys to being an apprentice are as streamlined as most. Navigating adulthood can be daunting, especially when catapulted into the real world from the comfort, familiarity, and safe environment of studying. In the summer of 2021, I found myself a graduate of The University of Exeter. Although I had a degree in Geography and three years of knowledge, friendships, and experience under my belt, I found myself in the pool of graduates who were stumped on what to do next.
I had been accepted to study for a master’s at my university which would take me into the next year. But deep down I knew this was just a buffer to prolong the inevitable leap into the real world. So, in August of 2021, I ripped the plaster off and was amongst the 60% of 22-year-olds who moved back in with their parents. This time at home has been invaluable to me. I was fortunate enough to work in a flexible job which allowed me to volunteer and gain work experience in my growing curiosity about PR.
Work experience with One Voice Media just fed my interest in the PR industry with its constantly evolving nature and platforms. I not only learnt a wealth of skills from the One Voice team, but they empowered me as a woman in the workplace and made me excited about what my future career could look like. This chain of events led me to Speed Communications. I was offered an Apprenticeship in association with the PRCA in May 2022 and haven’t looked back.
The last nine months have been a whirlwind and I’ve loved it. Being able to study alongside working in a fast-paced, supportive environment like Speed has allowed me to rapidly build my skills in media relations, copywriting, event planning, client comms and supporting creative campaigns. PR isn’t always glamourous, but a definite highlight was helping plan and experience a wine-tasting event whilst being elevated 100ft above the London skyline… we literally took PR to extreme heights!
Anyway, I can’t emphasise how beneficial this apprenticeship has been in guiding me through my first year in PR. Learning the theory and actually doing this in practice has been a blessing! Anyone considering if an apprenticeship is for them… I would strongly encourage them to do so. If you’re worried about being too old (I am considered a mature apprentice — slightly offensive I know!) you’re most definitely not! It’s increasingly common for people to change career paths and an apprenticeship is an ideal footing into an industry.
“Skills for Life” is the theme for 2023’s National Apprenticeship Week and I think this is very fitting. Although my degree has taught me an abundance of valuable skills, my apprenticeship is helping streamline these, pushing me to come one step closer to being a qualified PR professional.
Happy National Apprenticeship Week 2023!