By Amalia White, below, Account Executive, IPOS
Awareness weeks like National Apprenticeship Week are crucial. They provide a platform for individuals to inspire others and share their creations and achievements. For me, it was a fantastic opportunity to get a foot in the door at a leading creative agency and work with global brands. As a result, I’ve gained an insight into a fascinating industry and received valuable experience that led to my appointment as Account Executive, where I can work on projects with the likes of Birkenstock, New Balance, Under Armour and UGG.
Choosing an apprenticeship is also a statement about the importance of a diverse range of educational pathways. While university can be a great option for some, practical, on-the-job training is equally – if not more – valuable. By pursuing an apprenticeship, you can not only develop career skills, but also challenge the notion that university is the sole path to success.
Here are my top tips for people considering an apprenticeship:
- Embrace the learning curve: Understand that entering an apprenticeship with little to no experience is an opportunity to learn and grow. Embrace the learning curve, be open to new challenges, and view every task as a chance to acquire valuable skills. Through my apprenticeship in project management, I got to work with people across all parts of IPOS, learning about roles I never knew existed and I saw first-hand how these all come together to deliver results for clients.
- Cultivate curiosity: Cultivate a sense of proactive curiosity. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, seek clarification, and express genuine interest in the work you’re doing. This not only demonstrates your eagerness to learn but also fosters a collaborative and supportive work environment. IPOS is particularly keen on encouraging this kind of atmosphere and is recognised by the Greater Manchester Good Employment Charter for its vision to be one of the region’s most rewarding creative agencies.
- Build a diverse skill set: An apprenticeship is a unique chance to explore various aspects of your chosen field. Take advantage of this by actively seeking out diverse tasks and projects. Building a broad skill set not only makes you a more versatile professional but also opens up more opportunities down the line. I was fortunate that my apprenticeship in Project Management at IPOS meant I dealt with people across every department, covering key areas such as strategy development and idea generation, giving me a broad range of skills.
- Networking matters: Forge connections with colleagues, mentors, and industry professionals. Networking is a powerful tool that goes beyond the immediate workplace. Attend industry events, engage in online forums, and build relationships that can provide guidance, support, and potential career opportunities.
- Show initiative: Initiative is highly valued in any work setting. Take the initiative to tackle tasks without always waiting for instruction or a brief – just identify the problem and try to fix it. Volunteer for projects, propose ideas, and demonstrate your willingness to go the extra mile. This proactive approach not only sets you apart but also accelerates your learning and growth.
- Embrace feedback: Constructive feedback is a valuable resource for improvement. Embrace feedback with an open mind, see it as an opportunity to refine your skills, and use it to shape your professional development. This willingness to learn and adapt is a hallmark of a successful apprenticeship experience.
- Set short-term goals: Whatever training or development programme you’re on, break it down into manageable short-term goals. Whether it’s mastering a specific skill, completing a project independently, or expanding your professional network, setting achievable milestones provides a sense of accomplishment and keeps you motivated.
- Maintain a positive mindset: Starting with no experience can be challenging, but maintaining a positive mindset is crucial. Celebrate your successes, no matter how small, and view setbacks as opportunities to learn and improve. Try to extend this to positive body language too; engage, be interested, give good eye contact and do your best to create a positive impact. A positive attitude not only benefits your personal wellbeing but also contributes to a positive work environment.