By Ashley Smith, Digital Marketing Apprentice

Three months ago, I was at a cross-road in my life. Having just completed a Sport Science degree at university, I wasn’t sure I wanted to pursue a career in that sector and needed to evaluate my options.  A career in IT had never been part of my original plan but after completing some online research, I came across the IDE Group apprenticeship programme.

What initially attracted me to this programme was the opportunity it offered to gain valuable work experience in a growing industry, while working towards a specialised qualification. With a variety of IT apprenticeships to choose from, including marketing, finance, field services, service desk and commercial, I was particularly interested in specialising in digital marketing. While hesitant at first, with little knowledge and experience in my chosen programme, I had the basic math’s and science qualifications and a strong desire to learn, which was all I needed to begin!

Now three months into my apprenticeship as a digital marketing apprentice in the Bournemouth IDE Group office, I most recently completed the first week of my structured training course. Designed to support the hands-on experience gained in the office environment, these six one-week courses take place at intervals of 1-2 months throughout the progression of the 12-month+ programme. The intention is to provide focused time to learn and explore marketing practices and gain new skills that can be applied in a practical environment.

Having begun the week’s session with an initial ‘icebreaker’ task, where I got to know the four other apprentices on the course, the training was structured consistently across each day with two topics, a presentation structure with Q&A and an online course, involving introductory videos and mini quizzes. Relevant to my chosen discipline, I specifically explored the basics of ‘digital marketing’ from SEO to data metrics and the relevant software and industry leading companies that were applicable to each area.

One of the most interesting topics was learning about the digital marketing business model ‘R.A.C.E’ (Reach, Act, Convert & Engage), a planning framework designed for digital marketing practices that uses critical thinking to develop a customised and strategic approach for the unique needs of a business.

Overall, it was helpful to have the time away from the office to learn and discuss my experience with the tutor and I felt I had been given some great new processes to consider and apply. With only four other apprentices in the class, it was easy to get to know everyone and we also socialised together in the evenings, which was great fun!

Having now completed my first three months I can say with absolute certainty that choosing this apprenticeship was the right decision to make.  My team in Bournemouth is amazing and I look forward to the progression of the programme and ultimately seeing what the future holds for me at IDE Group.