Lauren Smithers, Apprentice, Digital Marketer Degree Apprenticeship

Why did you decide to do an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship was the best option for me because I didn’t want to be in education full time but I wanted to be in a career that pushed me and had the option of being able to progress. Learning whilst earning really appealed to me because I was in a full-time job rather than education so going back to full-time education with no prospect of earning a good wage for the next 4 years was something I wanted to avoid. I knew of apprenticeships and thought that doing one would be the best way for me to learn a skilled job at the same time as being paid for it.

How did you find an apprenticeship employer?

I was searching for jobs online and came across an apprenticeship. Once I started to look into it further, I knew it was the route for me as I struggled with being in education full-time. I needed more hands-on experience, as I learn whilst doing. I applied for the job online and then had a phone and face to face interview with the recruitment company and finally had an assessment day with the hiring company.

What do you think the benefits of apprenticeships are?

The advantage of an apprenticeship is that the job is hands-on. You’re not just learning, you're actually doing - the role and course go hand in hand and it's a great moment when you can use something you have learnt at university in your role and vice versa. You employer pays you to learn - giving you an opportunity to learn and develop yourself. You get 20% off-the-job meaning there is time for you to step away and focus on what you have learnt and what you want to learn. Apprenticeships go up in levels as well and are available at degree level so you can work your way to the top and gain experience whilst you do so.

Are there any challenges that you’ve had to overcome?

It can be really challenging at times. I think a lot of people forget that not only are you working a full-time job but also completing a degree. It can be very intense and learning how to prioritise your time is so important otherwise things can become overwhelming.

How is LSBU supporting you in your apprenticeship?

During the lockdown, LSBU have made themselves available to help at all hours which has been fantastic for me due to an increased workload. They work really closely with my employer to make sure that I have everything needed in order to complete this apprenticeship successfully. After a few teething problems, which is to be expected with any new experience, I feel LSBU are supporting me and helping me progress.

Would you recommend apprenticeships to others?

I would without a doubt recommend an apprenticeship to other people. They're a great option for people who don't want to be in education full time because they still enable you to progress and develop. It's also a great option for people looking for a career change but who don't want to start at the bottom.

Would you recommend LSBU to others?

I would recommend LSBU to others. When studying a course under the Business sector, LSBU have a generic first year with one specialised unit - this is a great opportunity, especially for apprentices, to be able to grasp other aspects of the business. For example, I'm studying digital marketing however, I have just done a module in accounting which is a great thing to have behind me as I help look after the budgets so I'm able to use that knowledge in my everyday role.

What advice would you give to anyone that is considering doing an apprenticeship?

My advice would be to just take the leap. If you've got an employer and provider who support you then the sky is the limit.

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