For businesses looking to retain and develop their staff, and managers looking to hone their own skills, the growing list of apprenticeships has fast become a go-to option.
It helps that the University of Gloucestershire is leading the way when it comes to delivering a range of higher and degree-level apprenticeships.
Its Business School at Oxstalls, synonymous with The Growth Hub and GFirst LEP, can list a growing catalogue of apprenticeships that are proof of its desire to listen, learn and deliver what business wants.
About the apprentice: April Trigg, marketing manager at Brace Creative
April Trigg works as a marketing manager at award-winning Gloucester headquartered agency Brace Creative.
Whether it is web design, graphic design or digital marketing the agency, based on Olympus Park, Quedgeley, has delivered for clients including the NHS, Gloucester Rugby, Gloucester City Council, Oxfam, Gloucester-based Allstone, Freemans Event Partners and Gloucestershire business group Circle2Success.
She has already completed a level three media studies, but is now developing her skills further by taking on the challenge of a degree level marketing apprenticeship.
What was your first ever job?
I landed my first ever job as a waitress at the Orchard Pub. I then moved on to a personal shopper role at Tesco followed by a team leader role at Cineworld.
Once I gained my level 3 in media studies at Gloucester College, I knew I wanted to find a job in marketing and had been scouring the web looking for any digital marketing apprenticeships in the area.
What do you do now?
Starting as a digital marketing apprentice focusing the majority of my time on social media, I soon learned my passion for search marketing, where I began to learn the ins and outs of search engine optimisation and pay-per-click advertising.
I then moved on to a search marketing specialist role and most recently I have been appointed marketing manager at Brace Creative Agency.
Can you tell us a bit about your working week?
As a marketing manager, I cover a variety of tasks on a day-to-day basis.
I’m responsible for creating and implementing detailed marketing strategies focused on generating a measurable return on investment for our clients.
I manage and train two marketing apprentices and two marketing executives throughout the week, I then split my time between SEO (search engine optimisation), Google Ads, generating proposals and meeting and communicating with our clients.
I currently work a 40-hour week and have more of a laid-back home life where I spend time winding down with my fiancée and border collie.
On top of this, I have recently started the marketing apprentice degree at the University of Gloucestershire.
Why, on top of your busy working week, add an apprenticeship?
I have always loved learning. After looking around at different degree courses, the apprenticeship degree at the University of Gloucestershire seemed the most fitting for me.
I also much preferred the opportunity to go into the university for face-to-face lectures when compared to other online university options I have tried out in the past.
My company have been very supportive encouraging further learning with the plan of bringing the theory learned at the university into practice at the office.
How many hours a week do you dedicate to the course?
As an apprenticeship, we are required to spend 20 per cent of each working week on studying, writing assignments, group work and lectures. I also spend some evening and weekends working on my assignments, making the most of any unexpected bursts of motivation.
I understand each apprentice uses their own business as the case study throughout. What are the benefits of this?
Having the opportunity to use Brace Creative Agency as the subject of one of my assignments so far has been a great opportunity to bring the knowledge gained in the classroom, back to the office.
As with most degree courses, a lot of our study is based around the theory of marketing, allowing me to take a step back and re-evaluate our campaigns, goals and objectives.
Is being alongside other businesspeople a positive and do you support one another?
Being part of a small cohort, I have met a handful of other businesspeople during my course so far and am happy to say that they are a lovely, talented bunch with who I look forward to working with.
Working alongside this group helps me to think about things from their perspective, hearing their contribution during lectures and working together on group assignments has all been a great help in my progression throughout the course.
When did you start the course and how soon were you able to start applying some of what you are learning to your day job?
I started the course early this year (2021) and have been able to apply my new knowledge from the get-go. The knowledge from my first lecture has been ingrained in my mind ever since, allowing me to bring this back to the office from the next day onwards.
What have been the benefits to you so far?
With the new theoretical knowledge gained on the course so far, my approach to marketing strategies and conceptualisation of marketing campaigns has evolved to become more in-depth, offering a more customer-centric approach.
Yes! Before joining the course, I have always been someone who enjoys getting on with the work, however, the course has allowed me to take a step back and focus on the theoretical side of marketing with I am enjoying so far.
Would you recommend the course to others, why and what advice would you give them?
I would recommend this course to others as it is a fantastic opportunity to work full time while working towards a valuable degree.
Aside from your business, on a personal level – what do you think this will give you?
Although I am still new to the course, I have already seen improvements in my writing style, developments in my knowledge of the theory behind marketing practices and I am hopeful to see this further improve over time.