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.
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.”
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
What Makes The Best Digital Marketing Apprenticeship?
The Best Digital Marketing Apprenticeship
- What makes a good programme or service?
At Apprentify we specialise in digital marketing apprenticeships. From the very start we made sure that what we offered was the very best and what employers and apprentices were asking for.
For the first 3 months we spent a lot of time doing lots of research and designing. We directly spoke to over 100 employers and apprentices not just about digital marketing but about apprenticeships as a whole. We asked a few simple questions:
What works for you right now?
What areas need improving?
Who do it the best and why?
If you could have a magic wand what would you change?
Time and time again employers told us there were 3 main issues with apprenticeships they had utilised over the last few years:
The recruitment of new talent that was out into apprenticeship roles was poor. Apprentices need to be of a certain type of behaviour and with drive, tenacity and all this had to come with time management.Not only this the apprentice needs to have a passion for the role they are going into such as digital marketing. Employers were telling us that the apprentices were leaving after 6 or 12 months as they just not right or just did not want a career in digital marketing. Apprentices were telling us that an apprenticeship was just not right for them or even a career in digital marketing, so they left.This is why recruitment is vital to the whole success of an apprenticeship. Apprentify designed a whole process that takes up to 6 hours of assessment across a range of apprenticeship and digital marketing tasks. Therefore, we know that an apprentice will be right and where they will shine. Most importantly we identify that they want it from the bottom of their heart and not just a job in digital because it sounds cool
Classroom Training is very popular, and engagement was generally classed as very good. However, employers were telling us the amount of out of the office training in venues miles away from the office was far too much and unnecessary.They also felt that because they were classroom training, they used out of date knowledge and techniques.
The final output of the apprentices. Digital marketing especially is a programme that provides well rounded digital marketers. This is great for the apprentice and the employer they get to focus on most areas that are important. Employers were involved from day one in the trailblazer groups but how can they develop something for everyone. Most employers simply want an apprentice that will be experienced or enhanced in a certain discipline, something that gives them a true ROI.So the best digital marketing apprenticeship providers design something that drives extra skills, knowledge and behaviours that an employer and apprentice can harness.At Apprentify we have developed our unique path to mastery which are four paths that are not part of the apprenticeship standard. These paths help develop extra skills, knowledge and behaviours.
Best coaches and trainers. The very best apprenticeship providers have coaches that have walked the walk within the digital marketing industry.The Apprentify coaches have all been digital marketing managers or worked agency side. We also ensure that every coach does a few industry days each year.
So all in all every provider I am sure provides a great apprenticeship programme but the very best digital marketing apprenticeship providers go that extra mile and put in that extra effort not only to make it the best programme but also the best front end (talent acquisition) and back end (development) and everything in between (coaches and programme). It is not easy and maybe not the most profitable way, but it is right, and we believe the very best digital marketing apprenticeship providers do this.
Apprentify offers digital marketing and junior content producer apprenticeships, view our page on the apprenticeships service
The Role of Digital in Modern Marketing
Digital dominates in modern marketing. Many of the traditional, seemingly foolproof promotional techniques have become obsolete, and companies are increasingly finding themselves depending on digital marketers for results.
The rise of social media, search and PPC has signalled the end of marketing departments as advertising think-tanks. Today, they build systems and strategies, create content, construct designs, then perform analytics to continually refine their approach.
Here’s how the marketing landscape has changed since the digital age took hold…
Data acquisition and usage
Purchasing data has been common practice for years, with companies buying information which is then used to contact relevant parties in the hopes of making sales.
This is happening a lot less now, as businesses instead elect to harness data they have sourced themselves through innovative marketing. A popular move, for example, is to invite people to part with their personal information in exchange for free downloads or prize draws.
The predominance of social media has made sharing these types of competitions easier than ever – allowing companies to access a wider audience and stimulate increased participation.
The drive to digital has come with a change in behaviours. Smartphone-generated traffic has officially overtaken desktop browsing – proof of the importance of mobile-first marketing.
Producing compelling content with a persuasive call to action isn’t enough anymore. Your work needs to be formatted for mobile so that audiences can find you – after all, mobile optimisation affects search engine rankings.
It additionally needs to be digestible on smaller screens. Marketing today involves saying as much as you can in a limited space – with an attention-grabbing message that stops the user from casually scrolling past.
There’s also more commitment to longevity in business nowadays. Many entrepreneurs want to create personalities and legacies rather than engage in get-rich-quick schemes. And marketing plays a massive role in this brand-building process.
Online is the best place to shape your identity and pitch your company. But you need young, forward-thinking marketers who are in tune with the current generation’s wants and needs to ensure you’re noticed by your audience.
That’s why digital marketing apprenticeships are gaining in popularity. By recruiting fresh, tech-savvy people with an eye for online content, companies can continue to develop their brand in an effective way.
Apprentify help you write a new chapter for your digital marketing
Looking to harness the power of modern marketing? Take a progressive step for your business by recruiting a digital marketing apprentice or upskilling your current team members with Apprentify.
As well as ensuring that you’re left with a well-rounded digital marketer, Apprentify give you the opportunity to develop specialist expertise. The Path to Mastery programme leaves you with an expert in the specific area of digital marketing that will most benefit your business.
Want to learn more? For further information call 0333 996 0167 or email [email protected].
Making You Content - Apprentice Diaries - Month 3
The Apprentice Diaries: Grace’s third Month.
Amazing to read how well Grace is doing with her digital marketing apprenticeship and the real impact she is making with the team at Making You Content.
When I was looking for an apprenticeship, I was worried that I wouldn't find the right company for me. With the help of Scott and Dale at Apprentify, I was able to find the perfect apprenticeship. Scott informed me of everything during the process of the application, and he found me the digital marketing apprenticeship at Making You Content very quickly, and set me up for a telephone interview with Kelly, and then later on, a face-to-face interview. I am very happy here at Making You Content and I'm looking forward to learning more about the marketing industry through the apprenticeship. Grace Collier (Apprentice)
We appointed Apprentify to help us source a digital marketing apprentice for our growing content agency. As we’ve never hired an apprentice before, we were completely new to this arena, and SallyAnn was extremely helpful in guiding through the process and what to expect. The experience was very smooth, and within the space of weeks we had found the perfect apprentice for our agency. SallyAnn and Dale made sure the onboarding process fitted around our business, and as a result Grace has quickly settled in with the team. We’re looking forward to seeing how the programme develops and working closely with the Apprentify team to complete the apprenticeship. Kelly Gilmour-Grassam (Director)
Grace’s First Month as Digital Marketing Apprentice at Making You Content.
We are so happy to give you the first in a series of digital marketing apprentice and employer diaries from our friends at Making You Content who took their first apprentice last month Grace. Each month they will be providing a warts and all (fingers crossed!) diary of their experiences from an employer and apprentice point of view.
In addition to all the many businesses exhibiting there covering a range of industry sectors, as you can probably guess I was most interested in all things Digital and Digital Marketing. The great thing about this particular exhibition was the number of workshops available providing valuable insights designed to help people develop and enhance their knowledge.
One such workshop was on Social Media Strategy sponsored by Google Digital Garage and run by Hamida Bhatia , a Google Digital Marketing and Communications Consultant.
With over 44 million social media users in the UK, it is easy to get excited about large numbers of Vanity Followers however, to drive business and improve performance we need to attract the right type of follower remembering that attention spans are short and you need to fight hard for attention!
Quick Take Aways from the workshop include:
Pick your preferred media channel and master it whilst you grow your audience
Twitter : Good for speedy conversations
Facebook : Still the biggest and helps customers find you and see what you do
Instagram : Ideal for sharing photos and videos of your products and anything else you do
LinkedIn: Great for developing your network and connecting with peers as well as recruitment
Define your audience – Who are they and what or who influences them? Which social media do they use?
Define your goals – Do you want to generate more sales or grow brand awareness? Perhaps you need more people to your site or to give better customer service…
Define success – Growth in sales, traffic, improvement in customer service ratings or maybe an increase in brand awareness
Choose your focus – different media channels need different strategies so choose carefully between Business and Lifestyle
Think about the content you want to share such as Announcements, Products or Recurring Content to name but a few
Don't forget, once it's public, It's public!
With so many great free workshops and knowledge hubs, it is increasingly easy to be proactive when it comes to Continuing Professional Development (CPD). If you are in Manchester, Google Digital Garage has extended its presence in the city till April so why not visit!
Can Digital Marketing bring passion into your business?
I had the pleasure in reading a blog on apprentices bring passion into the work place by Anne Milton the Rt Hon MP and the Minister of State for Apprenticeships and Skills for the UK.
It got to make me think when I have taken marketing or digital marketing apprentices into my businesses before did they bring passion? I have had the pleasure in managing a few apprentices over the years. The one thing that they all came with was that gleam in their eyes and a real desire to drive themselves forward. Every one that I have had the pleasure to manage have all gone on to bigger and better things. The main thing that they brought was the passion as at the age we took them on thats all they could offer rough diamonds that if they are gleamed and shined in the right way will become the perfect gems that really drive businesses.
Going to college or university is not for everyone and so giving young people (and old) the ability to drive themselves through learning whilst they work is really important.
This week is national apprenticeship week and I have seen lots of activity promoting apprenticeships. If I could give any employer the one thing that they do bring from the very start , if assessed at the application stage, is passion.
What do you need in Digital Marketing in 2020?
There has been a revolution in apprenticeships in recent years beyond the advent of the apprenticeship levy https://apprentify.com/apprenticeship-levy/. It is quite amazing how many job roles can now be fulfilled by apprenticeships. Training companies like us here at Apprentify work hard to offer a quality results driven alternative to University and the increasingly staggering costs of attending.
I don’t think anyone is in any doubt today of the importance of digital for the future. Here in the Northwest, Manchester Digital recently carried out an audit of over 250 digital and technology businesses https://www.manchesterdigital.com/sites/default/files/Skills%20Audit%20Report%202017.pdf which detailed the struggles companies face to hire digital talent. A notable positive was that the investment in talent is increasing with over 50% of businesses stating that they had taken on an apprentice in the last year. It is easy to argue that there has never been a better time to hire a digital apprentice or indeed to be one.