National Apprenticeship Awards 2021

National Apprenticeship Awards 2021

The long-awaited National Apprenticeship award of 2021 has finally arrived and with it are nine categories available for apprentices, employers, and all “individuals who champion apprentices with passion”. The opening date for applications begins on Monday the 5th of July and ends on the 25th of July which means there is ample time to apply for yourself or on behalf of another. The apprenticeship awards are looking to reward excellence and hear inspirational stories and it is completely free to enter.

 

Apprentice of the Year

To enter the apprentice of the Year you must be currently undertaking the applicable apprenticeship or must have completed it within the past 12 months. There are three categories to the Apprentice of the Year award. The first being Intermediate Apprentice of the Year of which focuses on those working towards or have completed a level 2, the second being Advanced Apprentice of the Year which looks at those working towards or who have completed a level 3 in the past 12 months, and finally the Higher or Degree Apprentice of the Year for those who are undertaking or have completed a level 4 or higher qualification. The judges for this award are looking for apprentices who can demonstrate the impact and achievement they have had in their workplace.

 

Rising Star of the Year

The Rising Star of the Year award looks at celebrating the apprentices that have made significant progress in their career to date and have a bright future ahead of them. For this award, you must be undertaking an apprenticeship at any level (or have completed one in the past 24 months) and need to be recommended by their employer. An employer can nominate more than one apprentice for the award.

 

Employer of the Year

Similarly, to the Apprentice of the year award, the Employer of the year has three categories for SME Employer of the Year (1-249 employees), Large Employer of the Year (250-4999 employees) and finally the Macro Employer of the Year (5000+ employees). This award is open to all types of employers that can showcase the success and contribution that apprenticeships have brought to their organisation. Judges for this award are looking for an organisation that can show they have delivered an excellent apprenticeship program that has benefited all parties. For this application, it is suggested to provide evidence “such as quotes from clients and apprentices, statistics, comparative data and quantifiable information.”

 

Apprenticeship Champion of the Year

The Apprenticeship Champion of the Year award goes to those who are exceptionally passionate about apprenticeships and those who “champion apprenticeships with enthusiasm”. Unlike some of the others, this award is open to all individuals however the initial nomination must come from a colleague of contact who recognises their credentials; the nominator will then have to write a reference explaining why they think that they deserve the reward. Judges are looking for someone who goes above and beyond to promote apprenticeships as a career choice and how it can boost the success of a business.

 

How do I find out more?

Everyone at Apprentify is here to help you. That includes putting yourself or a colleague forward for an award. We want our apprentices and employers to have our full support so make sure to get in contact if this is something you would be interested in.

Find out more

-Matt

OFSTED - New Provider Monitoring Visit

OFSTED - New Provider Monitoring Visit

On the 18th and 19th of March this year we were visited by Ofsted for the first time for our New Provider Monitoring Visit (NPMV). These visits generally happen within 2 years of delivering Government funded apprenticeship training to ensure that all apprenticeship providers are on track to receive either “Good” or “Outstanding” grades at full inspection. Being inspected is always nerve-wracking, but we had worked hard and prepared appropriately for the visit and were confident and excited to show the inspectors our journey so far. Over the two days, the OFSTED inspectors spoke to our apprentices, employers, and staff; acquiring a wider understanding of the business, our culture, the progress we are making and how we are growing.

Each New Provider Monitoring Visit is graded across three themes, in short, Leadership and Management, Quality of Education and Safeguarding. Inspectors judge training providers on their performance in these areas and what strategies they have in place to improve.

 

Meeting the requirements of a successful apprenticeship provider

In the first theme of our report, it states that “leaders have a clear rationale for the delivery of apprenticeship provision”, accepting our purpose and intent within the digital/marketing apprenticeship sector. It mentions our “new quality checks” that “monitor the progress of individual apprentices”, which is something we see as one of our key strengths. Our apprentices benefit from monthly coaching sessions and quarterly progress reviews with their development coach, who provides personalised feedback and guidance, alongside support from their workplace mentor.

“Ever since starting my apprenticeship, I have not stopped learning, be that through my lessons and eLearning activities and at work itself. It would be tough to list it all in honesty, but for each core learning objective, I've improved massively from where I began. My knowledge and awareness of the media industry as a whole has been blown wide open.” – Maisy Dinsdale – Purple Creative Studios

 

The progress leaders are making ensuring apprentices benefit from high-quality training

Moving onto the second theme, inspectors noted that all our apprentices have “individualised learning plans” to ensure everyone can “develop substantial new knowledge, skills and behaviours which they can use to make a positive contribution to their employers’ business”. Holly Hand (Digital Marketing Apprentice) said "I have recently just finished two out of three Google Analytics virtual classrooms led by Charles at Apprentify, in these, I have picked up a deep understanding of the platform which I can then apply to my work at Global Doors”. Another role of our hard-working Development Coaches is to give additional stretch and challenge tasks to those with prior knowledge and to tailor the training through our personalised Bud learning system; we also want to ensure that the employers play a part in developing the curriculum and provide training aligning to employers’ businesses and marketing strategies.

Alongside our BUD management system, we host virtual classrooms every week, remotely teaching our apprentices following our ambitious curriculum. Apprentices are given pre and post-learning activities to complete around these sessions. “I have made lots of progress and thoroughly understand the topic before moving on due to the learning style with the pre and post classroom learning making sure everything covered is reinforced” - Lily Downes – Global Doors.

Also discussed in this theme is the “effective support for apprentices with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND).” As a training provider, we want to be able to provide equal opportunities for everyone which is why we identify apprentices needs early in the programme to provide support such as subtitles during lessons, and specialist spectacles for those with sight impairments. Lastly, for this section, it is noted that “Development Coaches provide helpful feedback to apprentices”; we want to ensure apprentices receive developmental feedback to enable them to improve their quality of work, whether that be creativity in marketing styles or simplistic aspects such as grammar and punctuation.

 

Ensuring that effective safeguarding arrangements are in place

Thirdly (and finally) the last area is how we are “ensuring that effective safeguarding arrangements are in place”. This is an aspect of Apprentify we hold dearly and “prioritise” significantly while ensuring our “designated safeguarding leads and deputy leads are appropriately qualified and trained” because our apprentices remain at the heart of Apprentify and therefore so does their safety. We also ensure that “all staff undergo the appropriate checks prior to contact with apprentices” to make sure the most suitable candidates are recruited, and our pupils can learn in a safe environment.

 

Thank you!

We would like to thank everyone involved – all apprentices, employers, and everyone at Apprentify – for their hard work and support during a positive and rewarding two days.

Mark Simpkins – Head of quality/OFSTED nominee ~ “We have been preparing for our New Provider Monitoring visit for some time now. We have worked extremely hard to get to where we are today, and this report reflects all the effort and commitment everyone has shown to work towards our ambitious goals. I would like to thank Ofsted and the HMI’s involved for what was a very developmental, fair, and professional visit. I’d also like to thank all my colleagues for the wonderful job they’re doing creating opportunities and educating our apprentices. And last but not least, our employers and apprentices for supporting and being the next generation of digital marketers and content producers.”

 

How do I find out more?

Read the whole report to find out more.

-Matt

My first month as a Digital Marketing apprentice at Apprentify!

How I feel about my first month as a Digital Marketing apprentice at Apprentify

Hi, I’m Matt and I have successfully finished my first ever full month at Apprentify! I would love to be cliché and say how there has been a mix of up and downs, however in reality I can only think of positive things that have happened and in general, I have had a lot of fun (and I am not just saying that because my boss might read this... Hi Paul).

 

My opinion in the workplace

With being in lockdown and having next to nothing to do for over a year straight, I thought it would come as more of a shock having to be logged in to work at 9 am every day. However, surprisingly it came much more seamlessly than I had originally thought and I often found myself wide awake before that doing household tasks to keep myself occupied before I officially start.

Work-wise, most of my first month consisted of website design; the website required an update, and some more pages to be created to showcase our new technical apprenticeships. I really enjoyed working on the website and learning about online tools such as the word press add on "Oxygen" as well as the big data-related tools like google analytics. Altogether I made about 8 different pages for the website and I am happy to say that they have all gone live; despite struggling when I first started and the mass amount of confusion on how to work "oxygen", I think I got the hang of it pretty fast.

Perhaps the most complex thing that I took the initiative to undertake was creating a Snapchat filter I created for our Apprentify "graduates", in a fun little attempt at getting them to interact with our company one last time and potentially gain a post or two with our logo in. Furthermore, I have spent a lot of time posting on social media and finding new and creative ideas for potential posts; other than that I have been trying to figure out different applications such as Sprout Social and Google Analytics.

All of my work colleagues have been extremely welcoming and cheerful since day one and I was even greeted in the group chat by a lot of "welcome" related gifs which were very nice and calming; although working at home does mean a longer lie-in, I am excited to get into the office and meet the people I have been working with and talking to over the internet for the past month and eventually (hopefully) be able to shake their hands in the near future.

 

The Apprenticeship side

The apprenticeship side of everything has been just as good as the actual work-life itself. Despite being online I have managed to make some friends that I work with on the group projects, which makes the learning experience even smoother. The lessons in themselves can actually be a really nice break from the same working experience -while being at home- and gives a lot of interactivity with the teacher and classmates. Despite my original thoughts, these lessons can not even relate to anything like the high school or college experience and instead gives us pupils a relaxed and friendly atmosphere we feel safe to speak up in and learn.

So far my group and I have made 3 presentations and have actually displayed two of them in front of the whole class, despite my initial nerves we did really well in both and I am very happy with the experience and grade I have got in them. Throughout our sessions we have lots of well-deserved breaks and constant team activities which really break up the day and keeps us interacting with the sessions so we are not prone to zoning out.

Altogether I have loved my first month as a digital marketing apprentice and I am beyond happy that I have received this opportunity and I can not see where it is going to take me in the years to come.

 

How do I find out more?

If, like me, you want to start your career in digital marketing through an apprenticeship then get in touch with the team through our Contact page

-Matt

My first week as a Digital Marketing apprentice at Apprentify!

My first thoughts about becoming an apprentice at Apprentify

Hi, I’m Matt and I have almost finished my first ever full working week, while also kickstarting my career in Digital Marketing; doing an apprenticeship at Apprentify!

Starting from the beginning, my mind was set into motion during the last few years of secondary school as to what career path and role I wanted to progress into in the future. It was not until I started studying at Aquinas College that I decided that perhaps I wanted to get into the digital media world; and instantly, the first thing I found was Digital Marketing and my intrigue was captured by this reasonably new, ever growing industry.

After having an early finish to college in May 2020, I immediately began looking for an apprenticeship in this desired field, despite my best efforts I often saw my self without luck, and either being told the position has been filled, or never hearing back at all. That was until I found a digital marketing apprenticeship job listing on google, this then led me to submit a swift application through Enrola.

It couldn't of been more than two weeks until I had heard back and was invited too a group assessment centre (all online of course). I was extremely nervous, however it was nothing like I expected and I was welcomed into a nice community that were just trying to figure out who I was, and what skills I possessed. I received numerous calls from Scott (who I can now gladly say I have met in person) until finally, he let me know about an opening working for the company that would be running the Apprenticeship! One 30 minute interview, and one short skill related task later, I was being offered a job!

 

MONDAY

So the day had finally arrived, after a hasty drive down to Wilmslow, I sat in my parked car taking deep breaths before deciding to go in. After finding the office I was greeted by a few friendly faces and offered a cup of tea (which obviously I am not going to turn down). After meeting Paul he began with all the introductions and started with my induction into the company and explained everything to me.

After the almost overload of information! I was given a laptop and shown a few educational videos that he recommended I should watch - of which made me lose track and time and forget I finished at 5 and not quarter past - and then the day was over and I had yet another quick drive home ready to tell my family all about what I had been up to now that I am no longer in the house 24/7.

 

TUESDAY

Tuesday, my second day of work was from home. It was not an unusual experience having been previously working from my room part-time. Communication came naturally, and I was constantly talking to team members and doing video chats with Paul and Dale.

The morning was taken in order to get me signed up to the apprenticeship and Dale took his time explaining everything too me, and answering any questions that I had (and there was so many). Then, in the afternoon I was finally assigned my first task to research similar websites to Apprentify and try and find things that could be improved. This got me more excited for coming into the office the next day since I knew I would have to use this knew knowledge to help improve the website.

 

WEDNESDAY

Wednesday, I was back in the office and after a close call with my alarms not going off in the morning I managed to make it on time. I was excited to spend the day working on a project and Paul explained to me how I go about creating new pages for the website and I pitched to him my new ideas and improvements that I thought we could make! It was a nice experience being able to speak to your boss so easily and be listened too.

To my delight Paul let me get on with the editing of the website and let my creativity run wild. Many pages later and quite a while spent trying to understand WordPress, the day had flown by and it was time to yet again get home.

 

THURSDAY

Thursday was an unusual yet amazing new experience for me. I spent the day having my very first training session with Kulwinder Kainth who is now not only my teacher/ trainer, but also my co-worker (which I am sure is going to be very helpful). The session took up the whole day but to my surprise it was really enjoyable and felt more like I was talking to my friends, however at the same time I learnt so much about marketing and the industry despite it only being my first session.

I had no idea what to expect in the training session and I merely presumed it would be 6 hours of listening to someone drone on, but Kulwinder made it very enjoyable with her personal touch and even got us to interact in team activities which was really fun. Towards the end of the day we were all informed of when our next learning session would be and that we were being assigned a group project, in spite of the confusion at first, the teacher was happy to further explain the task in private after the session had finished, and my friendly team and I made a Whatsapp group to improve our organisation for the week to come.

 

FRIDAY

The last day of the working week is always the hardest! After struggling out of the confines of my bed I logged onto my laptop and was issued my first writing task (which you are reading right now). As well as that I was asked to think and plan what else we could do on our social medias, as well as talk to some of the other coaches and team members - so I guess its time to use some of them social skills I talked about in my interview -

With the week being almost over, I have really enjoyed my time at Apprentify so far, and I can not wait to see what the upcoming weeks hold for me.

 

How do I find out more?

If, like me, you want to start your career in digital marketing through an apprenticeship then get in touch with the team through our Contact page

-Matt