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Breaking The Ice on Apprenticeships

February 5, 2024 | By The Dairy
Breaking The Ice on Apprenticeships


Elise: Hi, I’m Elise, the current Dairy apprentice. I’ve been at the Dairy Creative Agency for ten months, working alongside Claudia in the digital team. I spend a lot of my time creating content for ourselves and clients, and supporting new business strategies. I began my apprenticeship at the age of 18.

Claudia: I’m Claudia, our Digital Strategist. I have been at The Dairy for nearly 6 and a half years now, and I head up our digital offering. I began my apprenticeship at the age of 18.  

Emily: My name is Emily and I’m an Account Manager at The Dairy. I’ve been here nearly 2 years and work alongside Tom, our Account Director, to manage and implement our clients’ marketing strategies. I began my apprenticeship at the age of 24.


Which apprenticeship did you choose and why?

El: I’m currently doing my Digital Marketing Level 3 Apprenticeship, having previously had experience within Digital Marketing, I knew this was a career I enjoyed and I wanted to receive a full qualification – but without the debt of university. 

C: I initially did a Level 3 Digital Marketing Apprenticeship, but more recently I completed the Digital Marketing Integrated Degree Apprenticeship at Nottingham Trent University. I believe that this was the first time NTU had done a course like this for digital, so it was really exciting to be a part of the first cohort! 

Em: It was over five years ago that I did my apprenticeship, which was a Level 4 Marketing Executive Apprenticeship through the Chartered Institute of Marketing. After deciding not to go to university and getting into full-time employment, I became interested in marketing. I was lucky enough to be offered an apprenticeship that was paid equal to a junior marketing position so I could learn and still earn a full-time wage. 


How did you find your apprenticeship journey/what did you enjoy about this route?

El: I’ve really enjoyed my time as an apprentice, especially working in an agency with people who have been in my exact position. This has definitely made my life easier as I get a lot of motivation in seeing where I’ll be once qualified, and the team is great with any questions I have regarding the course or content. I think my favourite part of being an apprentice is the ability to just learn on the job as I’m not the biggest fan of sitting and listening to someone just tell me what to do without the chance to apply it.

C: I will always value my time as an apprentice. It was certainly challenging at times, but it was so rewarding in terms of experience and the lessons I learnt along the way. I was able to work alongside my lovely colleagues on some great campaigns every day, but I was also able to learn and meet amazing friends whilst I was at university. Even though it was a tough three years balancing the two, I feel really lucky to have been able to have had the privilege of experiencing both sides at the same time.

Em: I started my apprenticeship when I was 24 years old so I was considered a ‘mature’ apprentice. Sometimes this was challenging as I felt that I was learning at a faster pace to the course, but was still deemed a ‘student’ but colleagues, which can be difficult to manage when you’re older. The experience was none-the-less incredibly rewarding and definitely the right decision for me to help give me the knowledge and practical skills to become a successful marketer. 


How do you think choosing an apprenticeship helped you with your career?

El: Choosing to do an apprenticeship was the right choice for me, I feel like I’ve learnt a lot in a very short time compared to if I had gone to university for this course. Also, I have had the opportunity to meet and attend some incredible events as an apprentice – bonus!

C: I think that my apprenticeship helped me because I was exposed to all aspects of the agency very quickly. That gave me a deeper understanding of the industry and really propelled my learning. I learn best when I’m thrown in the deep end, so I really appreciated the fact that I had to acclimate quickly and learn a lot on the job.

Em: Doing an apprenticeship helped throw me into the industry in a way that pushes you to learn every day, but not only through textbooks. It gives you the opportunity to learn through experience and practically applying your knowledge every day, which really suited my learning style. 


Would you recommend doing an apprenticeship?

El: Definitely, I think apprenticeships give you a more realistic view on both the world of marketing, and what it means to work in a real-life setting. It has fully cemented my passion for marketing and I’m excited to see what comes next.

C: 100%! I think if you have a strong idea of the industry you want to be in, an apprenticeship will not only give you the qualification, but also a lot of transferable skills that will help you massively in your day-to-day life too. I honestly couldn’t recommend doing an apprenticeship enough!

Em: Absolutely, especially if you think university might not be for you. However I think that there is still work to be done with making apprenticeships more accessible to older students or anyone who might need to be earning a regular full-time income. Unless you get lucky like I did and your employer is willing to ‘top up’ your wage, more needs to be done to make apprenticeships an affordable option for everyone. 


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