July 10, 2013

The Spotlight is on Apprenticeships

I’m Debora Figueiredo a.k.a @Little_Figs, I’m the Digital Apprentice at DPG and I’m 17 years old. I’ve been working here at DPG for 2 months and I’m very passionate about apprenticeships and giving career advice to other young adults – this is my first blog on the DPG website.

Dan Sodergren is the Marketing Manager at The Apprentice Academy where they helped me find my apprenticeship – I decided to ask him a couple of questions to share some insight on his views on apprenticeships.

1. Were you an apprentice?

I was lucky enough to be my own apprentice, as from the age of 17 I ran my own businesses, in a variety of things ranging from promotions to marketing agencies. Always working in marketing and communications as something I love.

2. How important do you think apprenticeships are for young people and adults?

Truly when my daughter grows up (she is only 2 at the moment) I will tell her to do an apprenticeship, I already tell my nephews (who are 16 – 17) and I am very proud that one of them is doing it and abandoning the expensive debt ridden dreams of doing a degree.

3. What advantages and disadvantages are there from apprenticeships?

Apprenticeships give you hand on training inside a business, you get to do all the things that matter to the business itself, not just learning theory and other things that uni’s teach you. Don’t get me wrong universities have their place, but having employed people from graduate backgrounds myself, I can tell you I wish modern apprenticeships had been around when I was running my marketing agency.? I would have only taken on apprentices after seeing how great our apprentices are at The Apprentice Academy.?

4. Have you got any advice for people leaving high school or people wanting to leave college and want to start an apprenticeship?

Personally I think that the real growth markets are in digital marketing and social media management and so I am very happy to be spearheading The Apprentice Academy‘s drive into a new service offering for businesses around this – but this is hush hush.

5. What skills do you think apprentices need and learn throughout their apprenticeships?

It is a little shocking for me, that many young people don’t learn some key skills in school, like how to answer a telephone, how to write a professional email, how to get on with people from different backgrounds. These skills are key to the new world we live in one of collaboration and social media.

6. How did you start blogging?

I love marketing, and especially guerrilla marketing and digital marketing, so for me writing a blog was something smaller – than writing a book – which I did about “starting your own business” with NCGE last year. (Make your passion a success)

I write blogs as I love writing. And to be honest with you – I want this to be a legacy for my daughter to read (poor thing)

7. Have you got any advice for beginner bloggers?

Remember your keywords, remember to add value, remember to write like you talk (that last part is just for those with my style?) and if you’re doing it for a client – remember your hyperlinks on those lovely keywords – which for us here might be around Apprenticeships.

8. How do you plan out your blogs or come up with topics to touch on?

There is a difference on personal blogging and blogging for a client – I go seat of the pants style personally and more professionally planned for clients like The Apprentice Academy where we have a social media calendar. However, we are also open to great things happening which we react on and blog about i.e. Andy Murray winning Wimbledon and what this might mean about success.

9.Do you recommend college or apprenticeships more? Why?

I have never been to college so I wouldn’t know. But many of my family have and have loved the experience. However, as a business owner thinking about my workforce I would rather have someone who is keen and eager (which 91.3% of our customers report our TAA apprentices are?) rather than someone bored by learning at college.

10. How do you think apprenticeships/The Apprentice Academy prepares young adults for the workplace environment?

Developing future talent is our passion and you can really see that. Our people really care about both apprentices and our clients. So we train both sides of the Apprenticeship experience.? If we didn’t, we couldn’t tell the following story of our clients where:

*This survey was conducted in Dec 2012 with 67 Apprentice Academy customers

We do a lot more than many providers, as we can as company’s invest in the training of their new apprentice, and we invest in training their managers. This is vital to give a positive return on investment within 8 weeks – something we call the magic 8 weeks – I don’t think many other providers can say they do that. Which is why I love working for the best – it makes marketing so much easier in some respects. In others, we have so many great apprentices doing amazing things that I need an apprentice now to help with the amount of social media “good news” we are creating. This is a nice position to be in, especially with our new crop of digital marketing apprenticeships coming on soon.

Thank you for the interview Dan.

What are your views on apprenticeships?

Are you looking for an apprentice in your business?

Ask me any questions you might have on what it’s like to be an apprentice, I’d love to hear from you.

Debora