Celebrating National Apprenticeship Week

Many businesses report struggling to recruit new employees.  To celebrate National Apprenticeship Week, find out more about Apprenticeships and how they can shape the future for your business from our Managing Director, Julie Priestley, Digital Marketing Manager, Daniel Atkinson and Digital Marketing Apprentice Alfie Madden who started his apprenticeship in September 2022.   

Julie- Managing Director  

Why did DBS take on an apprentice? 

Recruiting skilled team members with the right website design and digital marketing skills as well as the right mindset and personality to fit into our business has always been a challenge. The fast pace of the industry makes it hard for educational institutions to keep on top of the latest technologies; no sooner have they written a course than it is out of date. Our priority when hiring a new team member is to find the right person with the right mindset to fit within the DBS team. 

So, when an enthusiastic, 15-year-old, Year 11 student emailed me in February 2022 looking for an employer to support him through an Apprenticeship in Digital Marketing, I wanted to find out more.  

We arranged for an online interview with Alfie. At the time we were looking to hire an experienced Digital Marketing Specialist and Alfie interviewed better than some of the candidates we had interviewed for the experienced role. At the time we hadn’t been looking for an apprentice, but we were so impressed with Alfie we not only took an experienced Digital Marketing Specialist we took on Alfie to start his Digital Marketing Apprenticeship the following September. 

When I interviewed Alfie the things that stood out was the amount of time he had taken to research DBS before the interview, he had also shown initiative in teaching himself digital skills and getting experience. 

Were there any potential challenges? 

At the time we were one of the first businesses to take on a Digital Marketing Apprentice who would work 100% remotely. Having closed our office in Navenby during the Covid years, we are a business where all team members work 100% remotely. This does have its advantages and disadvantages, particularly when it comes to taking on new team members. We worked closely with both Alfie and with the college to ensure that Alfie would get all the support he needed and when he needed it. Working remotely is not for everyone and making sure that Alfie was happy to do so was crucial to making it work.  

Alfie is now coming towards the end of his apprenticeship, and we are delighted that he has chosen to continue with DBS once he has completed his apprenticeship. He has worked really hard to pass his apprenticeship and is now specialising in Search Engine Marketing. 

Daniel Atkinson- Digital Marketing Manager  

What made the process of having an apprentice go smoothly? 

Remote training can be a potentially difficult thing to navigate. However, we have found it to be good because it facilitates more immersive sessions through screen sharing which I think makes the process easier for both parties. It has also encouraged Alfie to problem solve on his own and conduct more personal learning outside of the training.  

Were there any challenges that came as part of the apprenticeship? 

The main challenges have been making Alfie feel part of the team and translating the company culture whilst working remotely. To bridge these areas, we have regular team meetings online, we meet up in person as a team at least once a quarter, have the option to work collaboratively from the Mosaic in Lincoln and have several team events throughout the year. 

Alfie Madden- Digital Marketing Assistant 

What made you want to go down the apprenticeship route? 

Motivated by a desire for financial independence and hands on approach to learning, I found that the traditional school setting didn’t align with my goals. This is how I established that pursuing an apprenticeship would be the most suitable path for me. 

What made you want to get an apprenticeship with DBS? 

In the final years of secondary school, I had a side hustle which involved selling collectables such as gold, watches and comics. Through this experience, I developed a keen interest in understanding how businesses enhance their online presence and sales. After research, I concluded that a digital marketing apprenticeship aligned with my interests, making DBS the ideal business to kickstart my career in digital marketing.  

Me and my dad were both searching and creating a list of potential digital marketing agencies to approach, which is when we came across DBS. The enthusiasm they showed made it an easy decision that I wanted to work with them. 

What advice would you give to other students who are thinking about doing an apprenticeship? 

Apprenticeships are great if you desire a hands-on approach to learning while getting paid. I highly recommend obtaining work experience prior to searching for a placement. Work experience for me confirmed my industry decision and it always looks great when you attend an interview. 

What has been your favourite part of the apprenticeship? 

My favourite aspect of my apprenticeship has been discovering my passion for organic search; specifically SEO. 

The whole DBS team would like to say a huge congratulations to Alfie for finishing his apprenticeship and are so pleased he has decided to stay on at the company. He is an important DBS team member who we love working with. 

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