Trinity PR’s very own apprentice, Niamh Donnelly, talks us through her ‘learn as you earn’ journey so far….
“This week marks National Apprenticeship Week 2020 (3 to 9 February) and, now in its 13th year, the campaign continues to highlight the positive impact of apprenticeships on individuals, employers and the economy. This year’s theme is ‘Look Beyond’, which celebrates the “diversity and value apprenticeships bring to workplaces and communities.”
“I know from personal experience that deciding the next steps to take after school or college can be challenging. There is a lot of pressure on young people to make big decisions that can impact their future. The prospect of tens of thousands of pounds of debt after studying a further 3 years at university can also be off-putting – but, if you know what you want to do, there are other ways to get into a range of industries. A good example of one such sector is media and communications.
“The traditional route into jobs in Public Relations and ‘Comms’ has always been through studying a relevant undergraduate degree such as English, Media Studies, Journalism or Public Relations. But now, apprenticeships are being seen as just as valuable because they allow young people to gain ‘hands on’ experience from the outset in a workplace setting, whilst receiving up-to-date training from industry professionals and working towards a Level 4 Higher Apprenticeship qualification.
“This is exactly the route I took, and I’m pleased to say I’m just weeks away from completing my 18-month course!
“My training provider, The PRCA offers free webinars to help apprentices develop the knowledge and skills needed to work in PR – as well as the in-depth “end-point assessment”. The webinars cover everything from writing press releases, creating content for social media, public affairs and SEO. The webinars and training sessions are led by those still working in PR which means that they are aware of current trends and issues affecting the industry, whilst also providing useful advice and guidance for anyone starting out.
“I have also been well supported by a designated mentor who would come into our offices for one-to-one advice sessions, as well as my line manager, one of Trinity’s 3 Directors who has really helped me every step of the way.
“Without a doubt, the role has allowed me to kickstart my career in PR and has also helped me to develop good relationships with national, trade and consumer journalists which will be beneficial throughout my future career. Working across a range of clients means that no two days are the same – one day I might be developing a social media strategy and the next I could be dealing with media requests for national newspapers!
“Working in a small, independent agency, I’ve had the opportunity to take more of a leading role in several projects, such as a large sampling campaign to beauty journalists; organising an influencer event; managing social media accounts for clients; researching and coordinating regional advertising campaigns and developing the supporting artwork and educational materials.
“In my opinion young people should seriously consider a higher-level apprenticeship as an option post-sixth form or college. Not only does it give you the relevant qualification, it also enables you to gain much-needed experience for these job roles – and without the debt too!”