An increasingly popular route into this fast-paced industry, discover how a marketing apprenticeship can give you the qualifications and experience you need to excel in your career

In this constantly developing industry, marketing companies and departments are required to keep up to date with the latest technology and trends in order to deliver the best possible service to their clients. The rapid growth of social media and the online world means that digital skills are in higher demand than ever.

In addition to this, with increasing tuition fees and a highly competitive graduate jobs market - meaning employment after graduation isn't guaranteed - many are looking for more practical alternatives to the traditional degree pathway into employment.

Marketing apprenticeships provide a solution to this. By becoming a marketing apprentice, you'll be given the most relevant, up-to-date training and have the opportunity to apply it to the working world as you learn. What's more, you'll be paid a wage while you study, gain valuable experience and build contacts within the industry through your employers.

What marketing apprenticeships are available?

You'll find marketing apprenticeships offered in a number of areas, such as:

  • digital marketing
  • social media
  • public relations (PR).

On GOV.UK, they're listed as sales, marketing and procurement apprenticeships.

Offered at a number of levels, you can tailor a marketing apprenticeship to your career ambitions. These are:

  • intermediate (level 2 - equivalent to 5 GCSEs, A*-C grade)
  • advanced (level 3 - equivalent to 2 A-levels)
  • higher (levels 4, 5, 6 and 7 - equivalent to a foundation degree and above)
  • degree (levels 6 and 7 - equivalent to a Bachelors or Masters degree).

The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) is the industry's Ofqual-regulated professional body, approved by the European Marketing Confederation. By finding an apprenticeship which offers a CIM-accredited qualification, you can ensure that you'll be gaining the latest, most informed teaching and insight. Find out more at CIM - Qualifications.

Which companies offer apprenticeships?

As a strong marketing department is crucial to the success of most businesses, you'll find marketing apprenticeship vacancies across a broad range of sectors and locations. Well-known names offering marketing apprenticeships include:

  • BT
  • Facebook
  • ITV
  • Microsoft
  • Sky
  • Vodafone.

You'll also find marketing apprenticeships with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and marketing agencies, which provide marketing services for other companies.

Visit GOV.UK - Find an apprenticeship to see what apprenticeships are available, or the Digital Agency Network to find marketing agencies in your area.

What do marketing apprenticeships involve?

Your specific tasks will vary depending on the company you work for and your role - however, marketing apprenticeships typically take up to two years to complete and are delivered in blended learning format, combining classroom learning and on-the-job experience.

Rapid developments in technology mean the majority of the skills you'll acquire and tasks you'll carry out are likely to focus on digital marketing, to keep up with current demand for easily accessible content. Your marketing apprenticeship, at any level, may involve:

  • market research - collecting and analysing data, using tools such as Google AdWords and Analytics
  • technical search engine optimisation (SEO) training
  • developing communications with clients and customers through a range of channels, including email, press, radio and TV
  • utilising social media from a business perspective
  • planning and budgeting for campaigns.

You'll typically be assessed in the workplace, having built up a portfolio of evidence of the knowledge you've gained throughout the apprenticeship.

Who are apprenticeships aimed at?

Apprenticeships are typically aimed at school leavers (16 years of age) who are looking for a more vocational pathway than studying towards A-levels.

However, thanks to the growing popularity and availability of degree apprenticeships, they aren't just for this age group. Entering the graduate jobs market involves fighting off tough competition, but the experience gained on a degree apprenticeship will work to your advantage with employers.

To be eligible for an apprenticeship in England you'll need to be over 16, have the right to work in England and not be in full-time education. Find out the entry requirements for apprentices in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

A marketing apprenticeship could be for you if you'd like to pursue any of the following career paths:

To discover the other careers you could pursue, browse marketing, advertising and PR job profiles.

How much will I be paid?

As an apprentice in England you'll be entitled to the National Minimum Wage. This is currently £3.70 per hour if you're under 19 years old, or over 19 and in your first year.

Beyond this, your earnings will be determined by your employers and will depend on the nature of your role and your location. Starting salaries vary - for instance, while some smaller companies offer a salary of under £10,000, apprentices with Microsoft Digital Skills earn £15,000 per year on average - with end salaries reaching £20,000.

You won't incur any costs on an apprenticeship - as well as paying your wages your employer will also cover the costs of your training.

How do I become a marketing apprentice?

If you've found a particular scheme you'd like to join, visit the company's website for more details about their application process. While some will have an online portal to manage applications, others may require you to download and complete an application form.

You can also search for vacancies on apprenticeship training provider websites, such as:

For any marketing apprentice application, as well as holding relevant qualifications to the appropriate level, you'll need a demonstrable passion for entering the marketing industry. You can achieve this through:

  • Doing your research - keep up-to-date with the latest trends and projects within the industry. You can use the bigger picture to influence your own work and inspire new ideas.
  • Showing your skills - for roles involving copywriting, employers are looking for candidates who write concisely and creatively. Starting your own blog, then building and engaging with a following, is a great way to gain these skills without spending a penny. Read more about this at 3 ways to get media work experience.
  • Impressing with your application - a big part of marketing, especially PR, is finding a way to stand out from the crowd. Consider this when fine tuning your CV and cover letter.

Discover more tips for starting a career in PR.

Find out more