National Apprenticeship Week: The benefits for businesses
National Apprenticeship Week – The business benefits of marketing apprenticeships
CIM has been a long-term supporter of apprenticeships and is part of the original trailblazer group with brands including Clarks, BT, British Airways, Centrica, and Vodafone which developed the marketing apprenticeship standards. Today, the marketing industry has an end-to-end apprenticeship offering from level 3 (Marketing Assistant) right through to level 7 (Senior Leaders).
It was important from the start that the various marketing apprenticeships accurately reflected the knowledge, skills and behaviours required to drive the development of the marketing profession now and in the future. In this article, we look across industry and Government to see how they are supporting apprenticeships and some of the exciting new initiatives under way.
Backing from industry
At CIM, we have been encouraged by the interest from companies and individuals in signing up to our marketing apprenticeship schemes, with over 200 people presently on their apprenticeship journey through CIM Apprenticeship Training Provider partnerships, such as Cambridge Marketing College, Professional Academy and Oxford College of Marketing. More broadly, apprenticeships have received backing from across industry.
Centrica, for example is set to recruit 1,000 apprentices over the next two years, committing to 50% from female applicants. Once qualified, the apprentices will become Smart Energy Experts, installing the latest smart meter technology and providing energy efficiency advice to customers.
Discussing Centrica’s commitment for marketing apprenticeships, Justin Robinson-Price, digital marketing manager, Centrica Business Solutions said: “Over four placements, our Commercial Marketing graduates learn the ins and outs of how to market the products and brands of the Centrica family, including British Gas, Centrica Business Solutions, Hive and Local Heroes. Through the programme, we want to make sure our graduates build the key commercial marketing skills to progress their future career with Centrica. Choice is at the heart of our programme, with our graduates having the choice to take placements in Commercial, Brand, Product Development, Customer Marketing, Advertising, Sales and Digital Advertising teams.
“In real terms their responsibilities could range all the way from gathering customer insight to developing material for TV and social media campaigns. We welcome Graduates from any degree discipline. This is why we chose to offer all our commercial marketing graduates the opportunity to take a Marketing Apprenticeship alongside our graduate programme. We’ve found it a great way to help cultivate the knowledge, skills and behaviours they need to thrive whilst enabling them to achieve a professionally recognised qualification.”
BT has also announced plans to recruit more than 70 apprentices and graduates at its main research hub as part of the company's plan to recruit more than 400 apprentices and graduates across the UK in 2021.
Vodafone too have a wide range of apprenticeships available from software developers (Level 4) to software engineers (Level 6), which can all be applied through Vodafone’s online platform, ConnectR.
Most recently, apprenticeships have received backing from the UK government in the shape of the ‘Build for the Future’ scheme. The initiative aims to encourage business communities to consider how apprenticeships can help individuals build the required skills and knowledge needed for a rewarding career. For more information, click here.
Minister for apprenticeships and skills, Gillian Keegan said: “Apprenticeships are a fantastic way to learn while you earn, opening up new and exciting career paths that can transform lives. It’s been a tough year for everyone, but we want the theme for National Apprenticeship Week 2021 to be a springboard to look ahead to how apprenticeships can futureproof workforces and boost careers.
“The week is a great opportunity to highlight the huge range of apprenticeships on offer – from Space Engineer to Registered Nurse. There are currently around 7,000 apprenticeship opportunities available on the Find an Apprenticeship website which will benefit individuals, businesses, and local communities. I encourage everyone to get involved and help make it a success.”
How has CIM and its partners delivered apprenticeships during lockdown?
CIM’s Apprenticeship provider partners, have not only continued to support and deliver current apprenticeship programmes during the COVID-19 pandemic but Accredited Study Centres like Professional Academy have actually launched six new cohorts amid lockdown.
Because the apprenticeship training uses a blended mix of face-to-face, workplace and online learning, apprentices can gain the most value out of their learning whatever the current situation.
Talking to CIM, Martin Hutchins, managing director at Professional Academy said: “Considering the impact of Coronavirus on consumer confidence and the businesses of Britain, there has never been a more important time to invest in sales & marketing training. The apprenticeship standards give SMEs a chance to do this in a low cost, high reward fashion.”
Discussing the importance of apprenticeships, Jane Young, managing director at Oxford Professional Education Group said: “Apprenticeship programmes are making a real difference to the future prospects of learners and the organisations they work for. Our apprenticeships are practical and fully supported, providing the opportunity to apply new skills immediately in the workplace – a win win for both learner and employer.”
Apprentify, based in Wilmslow, has seen a huge growth in applicants for marketing apprenticeships. Paul Drew, managing director, digital marketing apprenticeships at Apprentify said: “Marketing apprenticeships have grown massively for Apprentify, we are now 4 times as busy since the start of COVID 19. Businesses have seen the power of marketing and especially digital marketing. As more businesses move online or focus solely online, never before has the power of attention and engagement been more important to employers.
“One of high street fashion retailer clients has employed 8 apprentices into their business these include social media, product marketing and online content producers. We see that demand will continue to grow through the year and confident that this will be the best year ever for our marketing apprenticeships. Marketing apprenticeships have always been popular for students but since the start of 2020, we have seen a 32% increase in applications.”
Having worked on the development of the marketing apprenticeships, CIM holds independent end-point assessor organisation (EPAO) status. This means that CIM is responsible for assessing apprentices at the end of their course. Given our role as the guardian of professional marketing, CIM is the ideal organisation to oversee consistency in the assessment of marketing apprenticeships.
Discussing the importance of businesses backing the apprenticeship scheme, Maggie Jones, director of qualifications and partnerships at CIM said: “It’s positive to see so many large brands investing in apprenticeships. With businesses able to access apprenticeship funding for marketers wherever they are on their career journey; from the basics of marketing all the way to a post-graduate marketing qualification, there really are so many positives for businesses to support the scheme.
“Apprenticeships are a critical non-academic route for people to enter the marketing profession. At CIM, we believe in the importance of professional marketing training to ensure consistency and quality in the standard of marketing at all levels. These new qualifications will help further professionalise the marketing industry empowering professionals and businesses alike.”
Looking to the future
There is no doubt that 2021 will continue to be a challenging period for all sectors, from retail to hospitality, as businesses look towards effective strategies to help them recover and thrive post pandemic. Yet, what is encouraging is that with support from Government and leading brands, apprenticeships are a vital component for business success, and access to apprenticeship schemes looks set to go from strength-to-strength.
It’s clear apprenticeships provide a vital route into the marketing profession and widen the accessibility to those who may not ordinarily consider marketing as a career choice.
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