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Choosing your next journey in life can be a difficult choice to make. Going to university is a very popular route and has many benefits, but apprenticeships also have many advantages and can get you to the same place in your career by the same time. Here’s why our former Account Exec chose to join Sharp Minds as an apprentice – and how it has helped fast-track his career.
Choosing what to do after school is one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever make, so shouldn’t be rushed. In other words, don’t do what I did. I initially went to Cardiff University as it felt like the right step. Or should I say, the only step. All my family had gone to university, my friends were studying degrees, and my teachers weren’t talking about anything else apart from university. So I just went. However, it wasn’t until about three weeks after I got there that I realised it wasn’t the right fit for me.
I’ve always been a more hands-on learner and was just about sick and tired of learning something to pass an exam. That’s why I decided to leave university and get my hands dirty. I loved being at Cardiff, but I just couldn’t see myself doing what I had chosen to do in the future (archaeology). I started looking at different options and decided that marketing was the best choice for me as it’s something I’d really enjoyed at school. The ability to build brands’ reputations and get them more sales was something that really intrigued me. My research into how to get a foot on the first rung of a career in marketing convinced me that an apprenticeship was the way to go: hands-on learning backed up by formal coursework, with the chance to earn a recognised qualification without amassing all that debt.
Just over two years ago I applied for the apprenticeship at Sharp Minds and was very happy when I was offered the position. The role offered me the ability to learn whilst doing and experiencing a lot of new things. Alongside the various tests I took for the apprenticeship, I feel I have learned far more than I would have through doing just exams. I’m not knocking university, I’m simply saying I feel I’ve learnt skills that you could only learn by actually doing the job rather than studying it from a book – which is particularly valuable if that’s how you learn best.
When I was applying for apprenticeships, I could have gone down the route of being a very small cog in a very big machine at a large agency or company, but I opted to join a small agency as I thought I would get more direct experience across a wider range of marketing activities. That’s exactly what has happened, and it’s proved the ideal first step for a career in marketing: it’s given me the chance to work across the discipline to find out which area of marketing I want to specialise in.
My time at Sharp Minds has been truly amazing. I’m now off to work for a company in London and wouldn’t have had that ability if I hadn’t done an apprenticeship, which is why whenever anyone asks me what they recommend doing after school I always tell them the great things that can come from doing an apprenticeship.
So, if you’re thinking about your future and want to learn skills whilst gaining a vast amount of experience, then an apprenticeship might be the option for you.
Based in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, Sharp Minds offers brand development, digital marketing, offline marketing and public relations to businesses across Kent, Sussex, Surrey and Greater London. You can see what our customers say about us here.