It’s National Apprenticeships Week (6-12 February 2023) and at Summit, we wanted to take the time to celebrate our own Apprentices, and what they have brought to the business.
Summit currently has three apprentices – our digital marketing apprentices Megan Greenwood and Liam Nelson (who have just taken their final exams!), and Callum Ledsom, our development apprentice. In addition, Jak McLoughlin finalised his apprenticeship last year and has been working as an Affiliate Exec ever since.
We took some time to ask them why they chose an Apprenticeship and why at Summit.
Why an Apprenticeship?
Seen as a great alternative to university, at present there are over 740,000 learners participating in apprenticeships across the UK, in a wide range of subjects. But what made our current and former Apprentices to choose this pathway?
For Jak it was a multitude of different reasons, but the main one was that he hadn’t had any major previous experience of a working in the real world. “An apprenticeship was that bridge between still learning and a full-time job, with the benefit of no student debt. You get paid for working instead of paying to learn.
“I didn’t know what I wanted to do. Marketing yes, but what in marketing I had no idea. I’d never heard of Affiliate marketing when I joined, and I’ve been working in that area for over 2 years now. The apprenticeship was a good way to learn about all the different channels and figure out what would work best for me. At Summit, I had the freedom to choose what I wanted to focus on.”
University just wasn’t the right choice for Liam. “I left school and started working in retail, so I had the choice of continuing there or finding an apprenticeship. As soon as I started at Summit, I really enjoyed it – the programme gives you a couple of years of learning on the job, so that when you start working outside of the apprenticeship, you really know what you’re doing.
Megan agrees – the draw of earning while you learn was quite powerful, as well as getting practical experience: “There are a lot of benefits to choosing an apprenticeship. You get to work in the industry you want to have a career in, while still learning. It also allows you to work with people who have a lot of knowledge to share with you, practical real skills that you wouldn’t be able to get from the classroom.”
And because marketing is such a broad church, an apprenticeship gave Callum the chance to figure out what he really wanted to do – actually enabling him to be flexible and change his discipline completely:
“I didn’t really know what I wanted to do when I left college. I thought I wanted to be in marketing, but not specifically what channel. I also had some developer knowledge. When I started at Summit, I had the opportunity to figure out what I wanted to do – and I switched to development.”
How do you find balancing work and college?
Fitting in learning around a full-time day job sounds impossible. But the Apprenticeship scheme allows for 20% of the “day job” hours to be dedicated to learning. So, how do our team balance these competing demands?
Liam was pretty honest in his assessment that there have been “ups and downs” getting the balance right.
“To be honest, I’ve enjoyed the work side more than the college side, but when you have the end goal in mind of completing it and getting your role at Summit, it keeps you going.”
And Megan agrees with this sentiment. “I’ve really enjoyed it. Sometimes it can be a bit of chore going to college after a full day at work. But you have to remember that it’s not going to be forever, and that it will be worth it.
“Working amongst the team and with clients has enabled me to build up my skills. Not everything in the classroom has been completely relevant in my current day-to-day work, but the areas that have covered my job role have been really valuable.”
For Callum, the college to work ratio has been quite welcome.
“For me, as I have been learning development from a fundamentals level, there has been a lot to learn, so the resources that I’ve had from both the team at Summit and the apprenticeship provider have been very clear and have pushed me to improve my development skills. The progression for me has been insane over the last few months!”
Why an Apprenticeship at Summit?
We’re delighted to have this talented bunch onboard, but why did they decide to apply to Summit for their apprenticeships? What do we offer as a business?
“The development team especially is always striving to make sure that I learn new things,” according to Callum.
“The leadership team at Summit are great at building up apprentices. If you’d have told the Callum that had joined Summit that he would be well on his way to becoming a developer now, I don’t think he would have believed you. It just shows the difference that 2 years in a great company and a great apprenticeship provider can make.”
For Liam and Megan, it’s all about the working environment and being treated like an equal.
“I’m not sure about other apprenticeships but at Summit, I don’t feel like you are treated any differently – you’re given the same type of work and respect, you’re allowed to crack on and learn and take responsibility of your own tasks.
Megan continues: “Summit has a really good working atmosphere. Everyone is so supportive and will help wherever they can. And I think from the moment you walk through the door, everyone is just so welcoming.”
Jak believes it’s all about the people.
“I know that I enjoyed my apprenticeship as much as I did because it was with Summit. The main thing for me was the people. Ever since my interview, which was during Covid, the people have made Summit what it is – a great place to work.
“You’re getting trained by industry experts both at Summit and with your apprenticeship provider, so it’s a great way to get your foot in the door without any massive expectations. In the last 2 years, I’ve gone from an apprentice to a Junior Exec, to an Exec and I’m now pushing for Affiliate Manager, because of the quality of my training throughout the apprenticeship.”
We’ll leave the final word to Megan…
“If you’re weighing up whether to go for an Apprenticeship, just remember that there is so much value in being around people who are already in the industry that you aspire to be in. I’ve loved my apprenticeship so far.”
More more information about jobs at Summit, take a look at our Join Us page for the latest vacancies.