Digital Marketing Apprentice, Bristol Finance Firm

Digital Marketing Apprentice Bristol Tammy Devonald

Tammy Devonald was hired as PA to the founder of Ovation Finance in Bristol. Then he sold the company to an Employee Ownership Trust, which meant Tammy needed a new role. Her graphic design background and experience writing her own blogs and websites led the leadership team to ask her to move into a marketing role. Tammy was building her knowledge via "the odd webinar", but there was no real strategy behind what she was doing and it was impacting her confidence.

I really got into the data behind the figures and then started seeing where we should focus going forward.

How are you finding the programme so far?

Bringing more knowledge on board, it all adds up to taking more ownership of your role.  Before the apprenticeship, I would defer to everyone around me, thinking ‘They all know better than me, I don’t know what I'm doing’. But as the knowledge built, I could take ownership and say, ‘This is what we're doing.’ 

That was an awesome turn. It was probably about four months in. Once we'd done the dashboards, I really got into the data behind the figures and then started seeing where we should focus going forward. 

I've had feedback on that from the board of directors all the way down, which is great. I write reports for the board, and they've noticed the quality of those has massively improved.

How do you find the programme compared to your self-directed learning?

The programme has been structured in a way that makes sense. Each Masterclass builds on the last one and it gives you the foundation to realise what you're okay at and what you need to look at more, and where to find extra help when needed. It takes away the weight of organising your own learning.

Do you think you made the right decision?

I run monthly meetings with the marketing team, for anybody who wants to be involved in marketing within our business. They were happening before but it was like, trying to get blood from a stone, trying to get ideas going and trying to get energy in the room. Now they give me too much, which is great! 

I absolutely love that the feedback has been that everyone really enjoys those meetings and they want to be a part of it. I know it's because I now have the knowledge and I know what I'm doing, and I have the confidence to run them. 

A lot of the information I received at the beginning was about how the programme would help you do your role in the business, but actually we're gaining a lot of skills that will help us in our career overall.

I can't wait [to] take everything I've learned, put it into a marketing plan and see how much better we get on

What’s next for you?

The programme has given me a good foundation and the tools needed so I can navigate an industry that changes so fast with confidence.

I want to get through the rest of this year, finish the qualification and do as well as I can. I definitely want to stay in marketing. I feel so much more confident with it and I can't wait until next year, so I can take everything I've learned and put it into a marketing plan and see how much better we get on, compared to before I started the Academy and see the big difference. 

How has your manager been involved?

One of my line managers is the practice manager, and I couldn't have done this without her.  She's been key in listening to me. We have a chat every week and she really guides me with who I’m going to talk to in the business for help, and what metrics I’m going to use to measure my success.  

You definitely need a mentor in the business. All you're learning on the apprenticeship is great, but how do you bring that back to the business?

That's where your line manager can be your mentor and really challenge you with your ideas, make sure you're doing the right thing for the business, but also for yourself. Having that time to chat with someone is fantastic and very much needed because you don't want to do all this learning in isolation.

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