Adam Cooper, Marketing Assistant

 11 May 2018

Adam Cooper, Marketing Assistant for Tees Valley Music Service, started off as a Digital Apprentice. He talks about why he knew an apprenticeship was the right path for him and how it led to him being offered a full-time role.

"I would seriously urge every young person to at least consider an apprenticeship."

Tees Valley Music Service is one of the largest in the UK and serves four local authorities; Hartlepool, Stockton on Tees, Redcar & Cleveland and Middlesbrough. In 2012 it became lead partner of one of the 122 Music Hubs set up by the Government to deliver the National Music Plan, with funding from the Arts Council of England Music Education Grant. 

It offers curriculum support, delivery and enrichment, as well as instrumental/vocal lessons to over 240 schools and colleges, working in local, regional and national partnerships.

Adam Cooper started off as a digital apprentice with Tees Valley Music Service and was later offered a full-time role as a marketing assistant. 

Jeff Sawdon, Assistant Manager, said "Adam came to us as one of four Apprentices in 2014. Initially the focus was on general service operations including administration, logistics, use of musical equipment and lesson observation. However he soon showed interest and aptitude in the Digital Marketing area and his apprenticeship went in this direction.

"Under guidance of Stockton Riverside College (the training provider) and supported by various work colleagues, Adam began to take an increasingly proactive role in maintenance of the TVMS Website, Facebook page and Twitter account as well as supporting the general office work including customer service.

It was very beneficial to ‘grow our own’ staff from apprentice level to the full time and much valued member of the team that he now is. 

“As music education is a diverse but still specialist field, it was very beneficial to ‘grow our own’ staff from apprentice level to the full time and much valued member of the team that he now is. 

"It would have been much more difficult to re-educate someone in the many, and occasionally quirky, facets of our operation and Adam has experience of every cog in the machine now.  Thanks to his training with us, and the natural experience of his age group, he also brings the service right up to date with online fundraising, digital marketing, data analysis and social media”.

We spoke to Adam about his experience of completing an apprenticeship. 

Why did you decide to do an apprenticeship?

I decided an apprenticeship was the best progression route to follow after school because the structure of an apprenticeship appealed to me. It was more in line with my personal career goals than a traditional sixth form or college could offer.

The idea of gaining valuable experience in a workplace while, at the same time, studying for a qualification was incredibly attractive to me. 

What were you doing before your apprenticeship?

When I left school in June 2014 I enrolled onto an ICT Practioner course at college. Although I found the area of study interesting it was ultimately not what I wanted to do as a career.

The biggest appeal was the technical knowledge I would get with regards to IT software and hardware. This later proved useful in my studies with Tees Valley Music Service. 

My long-term goal was to work within the digital media and marketing sector. I was lucky to attend an interview with an employer who was offering this qualification in the workplace as opposed to in a classroom.    

What's the best thing about your apprenticeship and about your job now?

The best thing about my apprenticeship was the people I have had a chance to work with. I have been employed with Tees Valley Music Service (TVMS) for over three years and, while there have been challenges, the work is consistently fulfilling. This is largely due to the organisation's ‘can-do’ attitude and working within a friendly, committed and supportive team.

Through training sessions and support from my peers I believe I am a valued member of the team, which not only provides ample amounts of job satisfaction but also has increased my workload as my colleagues can rely on me to carry out marketing related tasks.

The best thing about my apprenticeship was the people I have had a chance to work with.

The best part of my new position as Marketing Assistant is the variety of tasks I am expected to perform. From promoting events to maintaining the website and social media accounts to providing administrative support, I assist in a wide range of day to day jobs which offers tremendous benefit for the organisation overall.

What was the worst part of your apprenticeship?

Personally, I would say the inexperience and the complete change in structure was the worst aspects of my apprenticeship. When I left school and gained employment with TVMS I was not very confident when it came to voicing my ideas.

I had no previous experience of speaking to customers, both on the phone and in person, so it took a while for me to gain these skills. While training was provided, due to the intricacy of TVMS policy, much of the knowledge came with time.  

What would you say to any young person considering doing an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a rewarding and worthwhile method of study. Not only are you studying to achieve an internationally recognised qualification but you are also gaining valuable experience in a workplace.

Many, including myself, find it difficult to study and retain information taught in a classroom setting and find it much easier to put what you’ve been taught into practice. Most apprenticeship qualifications heavily involve coursework therefore by applying the theory aspect of your work into real-life scenarios. It deepens your understanding and strengthens study skills like comprehensive analysis and effective reading.

I would seriously urge every young person to at least consider an apprenticeship. 

Contrary to popular belief, an apprenticeship can open options to study further at a higher level or at university while also keeping the door open to go straight into employment.

Enrolling onto an apprenticeship was one of the best decisions I have ever made as I now have 2 Level 3 NVQs and I’m in full-time employment. I would seriously urge every young person to at least consider an apprenticeship. There are so many different ones available in a variety of sectors and industries!

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