I joined FIRST in April 2021 after I had recently finished an online course called Digital Edge through Catch 22, and it was here that I decided that Digital Marketing was something I would be really interested in. I had done some work on analytics, video editing and social media as a hobby, so the thought of getting paid to do it and earning a qualification at the same time sounded perfect!
I had been unemployed for about 4 years before FIRST decided to take me on. I had earned my undergraduate degree and had masters’ credits in Primary Education but was lacking any recent experience, meaning finding a job was difficult. I was not only finding it difficult financially, but it was destroying my confidence and I felt as though I would never get a job again, never mind something I enjoyed doing for the rest of my life. And that’s the reason I decided to look at apprenticeships.
When I started at FIRST the learning curve was huge. I had never had so many tasks to complete and I was finding it difficult to manage my time and juggle everything I needed to do. With the help of my mentor and all the staff at FIRST, they made it easy to adjust to the work I needed to carry out. A lot of my time was spent working from home during the first few months due to COVID, so this was another strange concept that I simply had to get used to.
The work I do at FIRST ranges from content writing for social media posts, designing flyers and posters for events and editing and designing videos from previous events and award ceremonies that we’ve been involved in. I recently passed the first exam of the apprenticeship programme, and I couldn’t be happier with that (I’m not very good at exams) but there is still a long way to go.
Where I’m at now
I’m now about 10 months into my apprenticeship and I’m absolutely loving it! I enjoy the work I’m doing and feel as though I am a valued member of the staff, which I have never really felt anywhere else. I’ve also been given a brand-new role on top of the Digital Marketing that I will continue to do, which involves pastoral support for learners that work with FIRST. It’s amazing to know that there are so many opportunities to progress here and if they think you can do the job, then the sky’s the limit!
I have been working with Stephen from Gateshead Council who is my apprenticeship tutor. He has been absolutely fantastic to work with, very supportive and has helped me to learn a great deal. He has also given me a lot of confidence in terms of what I can achieve and I am very grateful to him for that.
I have faced some challenges while being part of an apprenticeship programme. The main one being suffering from anxiety which hasn’t been easy, and I think a lot of that has to do with the long time I spent unemployed and having very little confidence. I feel very lucky to have been given this opportunity at FIRST. Not only has it given me a way to learn while I earn but a way to build my confidence back up and deal with the anxiety I suffer from, and I’ll always be grateful to them for that.
Find out if it’s for you
If you’re not sure whether an apprenticeship is right for you, then have a look at https://www.nationalapprenticeshipweek.co.uk/. They have so much information on the different types of apprenticeships available and the opportunities for progression that come with them.