James Parrott, Digital Marketing Apprentice

 9 November 2018

James is a Digital Marketing Apprentice at RentalCars.com, a role he found through the Juice Academy in Manchester. He spoke to Creative Choices about his experience and why he's proud to be an apprentice.

“I work in the content team which is consumer marketing. We do video campaigns, video projects and I also do a little bit of work on the Content Management System (CMS), uploading articles and using code.”

“We’re involved in lots of creative stuff. We work with designers, in public relations (PR) and creative agencies as well, just to really push our ethos to the public and a little bit of internal work as well.”

“In my team my mentor, Grant, sits next to me - he’s the Video Content Manager. I sit opposite Nigel, he’s the Head of Brand. And then we’ve got people around us like copy writers, graphic designers, social media, PR as well. So, we’re a nice little compact creative team really.”

The importance of induction  

“At the start of the apprenticeship there were a lot of inductions and a lot of teaching sessions about how the company works and what our ethos is. There were also a lot of introductions to the teams that I would potentially be working with as the apprenticeship progressed. So, it was quite hands on in really viewing what goes on day to day.”

It was good to get to know people before I got really stuck into my role

“I feel that the inductions and help getting to know the teams on a personal level helped me understand what went on day to day around the business. I did definitely feel it was good to get to know people before I actually got really stuck into my role.”

Skill development

“Nine months into my apprenticeship I feel I’ve learnt an incredible amount, not just on the areas of work that I’m doing but also on the areas that I didn’t expect to learn about when I came here. I’ve gone from not being able to use a camera, to directing and producing my own campaigns and video shoots.”

“I definitely feel like I’ve progressed not only in ability but in confidence. It’s made me a little bit more curious about other areas in the business which have piqued my interests.”

The Juice Academy

“I started my apprenticeship by searching for Digital Marketing Apprenticeships in the Manchester area and the Juice Academy came up. I really liked the look of the employers that they had there so I decided to go to one of their boot camps. This is where all the applicants meet up with all the employers and spend the day getting to know each other.”

I attended that boot camp and seemed to have a really good click with Rental Cars

“At the end there’s a speed dating process where you have one-to-ones with the employers and then they decide which apprentices they think are the best fit for their organisation. I attended that boot camp and seemed to have a really good click with Rental Cars. They chose me and I chose them and it went from there!”

Community feel  

“I’m in a cohort at the moment and we’re all at different companies but we all originated in the Juice Academy. It’s good to see when someone’s at one company and another person is at another company, but we’re all brought together in a teaching session and you can bounce ideas off each other. It also gives you that community feel, you feel like you’re part of a group of people going through the same process that you are.”

“The main skill that I brought at the start of the apprenticeship was being open and willing to learn. That’s definitely one that I attribute my success to because I didn’t have that much practical experience. But because of the fact that I was willing to learn people were happy to give me jobs and say ‘give this a go’. I’d go away and if I got a bit stuck or a bit frustrated I’d overcome that and I’d feel rewarded for actually doing that, so it was good.”

Communication is crucial

“What I think is critical for the employer, training provider, apprentice triangle is that there needs to be a lot of communication. Things need to be crystal clear about exactly what the programme is and what’s going to happen throughout it. They also need to be sure that it fits the workplace.”

Things need to be crystal clear about exactly what the programme is and what’s going to happen throughout it

“The last thing you want is to be going to a provider and doing one thing and then going to your apprenticeship at work and doing a totally different thing, and feeling like there’s a disconnect. That’s what I think is really important because then the apprentice will feel much more included and not like they’re just doing it to get a certificate.”

“I think if there’s a gap in an apprenticeship programme, the apprentice first needs to point that out because the employer and the training provider might not necessarily know. And then once it’s been pointed out both parties really should work together and make sure that there are no gaps. If you’re working on two totally different things that disconnect just doesn’t create a good learning environment.”

Diversity of opportunities  

“The thing I enjoy most about my role is probably the diversity. I like working on different projects with different teams – I wouldn’t really like to just go into work and hammer out the same thing day in day out.”

“One week I might be filming in the Museum of Science and Industry, another week I might be filming in the Lake District. Or I might be doing some PR work, showing the press around the building. I like the diversity because I get to dip in and out and learn a lot of different things.”

“The thing I’m most looking forward to learning this year is how to run my own campaign from start to finish. Previously on campaigns I’ve always either been an assistant director or had a lot of guidance from my mentor. But he’s pushed me and said, “Look this is your chance to learn to do something new that you’ve never done before, and this is going to look really good for you.” That’s the challenge he’s given me and that I’m looking forward to taking on.”

Proud to be an apprentice

“I’m proud to be an apprentice because I enjoy what I do and I feel like I’m getting the most out of my job everyday.”

“I do care about being an apprentice, I feel that sometimes apprentices can get dismissed, or some people say that apprenticeships aren’t for academics. I was an academic and now I’m an apprentice and I think it’s great.”

“I’m proud to be an apprentice because I enjoy what I do and I feel like I’m getting the most out of my job every day.”

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