Robyn tells her story….

  1. What was your personal journey to deciding to complete an Apprenticeship (i.e. school exams; decisions and reasons for choosing not to go to Uni; what did your friends and family say?)?

I had completed A Levels with an idea of wanting a career in marketing. I didn’t want to go to uni because I had responsibilities at home (horses and pup). Also, the idea of being broke and having to live with others didn’t appeal to me. I went straight into a marketing role and found within a matter of weeks that I wasn’t receiving the training and guidance that was promised. I felt that the best way to ensure I’d get the training I’d need in the job was to do an apprenticeship. My parents were hard workers and believed that I could be successful regardless of the path I took to get there. I decided to do the apprenticeship with a view to work my way through the qualifications on the job, right up to degree level and beyond.

  1. How did you find out about the DM apprenticeship with Digital Native?

I applied for Mirren’s job on the Gov website. When I was unsuccessful, I stayed in touch with Martin and he put me forward for the job at Origin a few months later, after the failed Marketing role.

  1. How easy was it to combine work commitments with study?

Very easy. I was lucky because my employer was very supportive with allowing me set time to work on the coursework. I was also given a monetary value incentive to getting the coding exam passed and portfolio finished. The portfolio is the hardest and most time consuming – I found it easiest to write up the story soon after/whilst doing the task on the job. This way the task would be fresh in my mind and easy to write about. I never felt overly stressed or bogged down by any of it though, it’s definitely manageable across a whole year.

  1. What were the most useful parts of the course for you?

I found the group discussions helpful. It’s good to hear about other people’s workplace experiences. I also found that taking advice from the coaches about day to day office politics and work-related issues allowed me to make more rational, informed decisions about the way I dealt with situations.

  1. Did you learn anything new?

Yes – coding! I really enjoyed learning about coding, and it helps me a lot day to day since not many people understand basic coding, it’s a great skill to have.

  1. Did you introduce anything new to improve the business? (i.e. analytics)

I introduced an analytical platform called Hotjar. I also introduced new ideas for email campaigns and social media posts.

  1. With Digital Native you get an industry experienced coach to guide and help you through the course. Was this helpful and how often could you use your coach?

It was so helpful to have Anna on hand at college, and to know that she was just an email/call away if I needed advice during the time between. I found Anna’s advice invaluable and it helped me to deal with tricky situations at work that I otherwise may have been less rational about. Anna’s industry knowledge also allowed me to understand more about core Marketing fundamentals and strategy – something that is sometimes missed in the Digital side of Marketing. I personally utilised Anna’s help every day at college and I would say I called on Anna once a month or so outside of college hours, she was always happy to help with whatever it was!

  1. Do you plan to make Digital Marketing your career and if so, what next for you?

Yes, I do. I have just enrolled in the Level 6 CIM Diploma in Marketing. I think I now want to broaden out into offline marketing too, as I love the creative side and more hands-on general Marketing & PR. Anna pushed me and gave me the confidence to take the step to enquire about further courses and understand whether I qualified. Without those discussions that Anna encouraged me to have, I would never have applied. It transpires that with my 2 years industry experience alongside the Level 3, I qualified to jump straight on to the Level 6 CIM course. If Anna hadn’t have given me the confidence to get on the phone and discuss the entry requirements, I would never have applied and wouldn’t be on the Level 6 qualification now. The support doesn’t just stop when the apprenticeship is coming to an end – ensuring that you’re set up for the next steps is important to Digital Native too.