Case study

B2C marketing communications executive — Ellie Hughes

Ellie has just completed a Digital Marketing Degree Apprenticeship with Prospects (part of Jisc), achieving a 2:1 grade. She now works for Prospects as a B2C marketing communications executive

Why did you decide on a career in marketing?

Before I started at Prospects, I completed a Level 2 Business Administration Apprenticeship at another organisation. Here I was able to get some experience in working in marketing and decided that was a career route I would like to go down.

After I completed this apprenticeship I began searching for a marketing apprenticeship and applied for a Level 3 Marketing Apprenticeship at Prospects. This apprenticeship took 18 months and throughout I was able to learn everything that the marketing team had to offer.

When I finished my apprenticeship I was kept on at Prospects and the HR department offered me the opportunity to apply for a Digital Marketing Degree Apprenticeship at Manchester Metropolitan University. I took this amazing opportunity and was accepted onto the course and began in 2019, studying part time while working full time at Prospects as a marketing assistant.

Why did you opt for an apprenticeship over other routes?

Because I went to college and didn't enjoy it. I began searching for an apprenticeship so that I was able to learn while I earned.

Apprenticeships are an amazing opportunity, especially when you don't know what career you want to go into. My first experience allowed me to gain some experience within marketing and decide if that was a career pathway I wanted to go down. I have now completed three apprenticeships:

  • Level 2 Business Administration
  • Level 3 Marketing
  • Level 6 Digital Marketing.

 These fantastic opportunities have enabled me to progress my career and gain up to seven years' experience within marketing.

How did you find and apply for your apprenticeship?

My first two apprenticeships I found on the GOV.UK website. My employers at Prospects offered me the chance to complete a degree apprenticeship with their funding.

Tell us a bit more about your marketing apprenticeship.

My degree apprenticeship was a four-year, part-time course. The course consisted of two days on campus every three weeks, with a month in-between to complete assignments. Each taught unit was completed by a work-based project, which allowed me throughout the degree to apply the learning to real life business challenges.

I chose this programme because it provided me with the chance to attain a degree in digital marketing, acquire practical work experience in a professional business setting, all while avoiding student debt.

What's a typical working day like for you?

I begin my day by checking emails and responding to anything that is urgent. I then take a look at what the rest of the day will involve and write down a list of top priority tasks to complete.

These tasks cover things such as, social media briefs, email marketing campaigns, credit card management and checking the performance of Google PPC ads and editing if needed.

Describe your apprenticeship in three words.

  • challenging
  • rewarding
  • interesting.

What part of your apprenticeship did you enjoy the most?

I enjoyed learning about the wide variety of units that digital marketing has to offer.

Working with lecturers who are experts in different fields enabled me to broaden my industry expertise and knowledge.

What were the challenges?

I found it quite a challenge to find a balance between my degree apprenticeship and full-time work. Sometimes this felt like I was taking on too much at once and would lead to me feeling overwhelmed.

However, as time progressed, I gradually discovered a rhythm that worked for me, aided by conversations with my manager. I learned to delegate tasks effectively and communicate with my colleagues during busier periods, ensuring that I met strict deadlines.

What three qualities are important for a marketing apprentice?

  • Copywriting - learning how to write copy that fits with the tone of the organisation you work for is an important quality, as this is something you will use in different areas of marketing such as email and social media.
  • The ability to manage your time - Things can easily build up and deadlines always need to be met, so it is important to manage your time, delegate tasks where needed and ensure that you are always on top of things.
  • Adaptability - Marketing is an evolving industry. It's important to be adaptable and open to change to stay relevant to the ever-changing market.

What are your career ambitions?

My goal now I have completed my degree apprenticeship and achieved a 2:1 is to grow my career in marketing into a more senior role. Marketing is a fast-paced industry and I have learned a lot throughout the four years of my degree and my previous qualifications. I am hoping that I can put these skills to use even more and expand in my career at Jisc.

What advice can you give to other aspiring apprentices?

I strongly recommend a degree apprenticeship as it allows you to learn and immediately apply what you have learned within your day-to-day role.

Opting for an apprenticeship provides an exceptional pathway to gain years of hands-on experience in a rapidly evolving industry. It offers an opportunity to bridge the gap between theory and practice, that prepares individuals for the dynamic challenges of the professional world.

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