Kim Slater, Marketing and Communications Assistant, FD Works

Kim Slater

With digital, everyone’s going to have to learn all the time

Kim Slater graduated during the pandemic with a degree in Public Relations and Journalism, and continued to work in hospitality management while job hunting for her first communications role. In March 2021, Kim was the successful candidate for a marketing Apprenticeship and Media & Communications Executive role with FD Works, an accountancy firm based in Bristol and Bath.

We talk to Kim about her experience as a candidate and how her impression of apprenticeships has changed.

What was your impression of apprenticeships before joining the Working Knowledge marketing Academy? Did it change?

Definitely. While I get there can still be a stigma about being an apprentice, with digital everyone’s going to have to learn all the time. During my internship at a big public relations company, I sat next to the creative director. He’d been the editor of the Metro at one point, so a big guy in journalism and PR, and the amount of times that he struggled with Word!

You have to keep up in the digital space. I’m sure I’m going to learn a lot, and it also shows that I’m willing to keep learning. I don’t think “I’ve done my degree and that’s it now.” There’s so much more and it’s changing all the time.

I like learning. I did consider doing my Masters when the pandemic hit, thinking maybe this would be a perfect time. I was open to the idea of doing further education, but an apprenticeship did not come into it. You get that old-fashioned thinking that it’s for labour-type work, or when it’s something like this, that it’s about companies getting cheap labour.

Is that something you had seen?

The sort of opportunities I’d seen advertised in the past were for a really, really low wage and it didn’t really talk about what you would learn or what you, as an apprentice, would get out of it. They seemed to be saying “You’re not going to get a job unless you get experience. This is how you can get experience.”

Whereas with you guys, it didn’t feel like that. It didn’t feel like a hard sell from anyone. When I came across the role on LinkedIn I had a look at the Working Knowledge website and then the FD Works website and I actually messaged it to my Dad. I asked him: “Can you see the catch with this? Am I missing something?” And he said, “No, it looks like a really good opportunity. The catch is that it will be low pay for the first year.” But it wasn’t that low! I could live on it.

[The recruitment process] definitely felt like working with you rather than that you were winning because you got me on board. It definitely felt more like you were there to help connect people rather than make a load of money out of the situation.

It doesn’t fit at all in what my thoughts about an apprenticeship were in the past.

Were you worried about being overqualified?

A lot of the case studies you had were from apprentices who were older, who were perhaps already doing some level of marketing in their company. So that was really helpful, I thought, “I fit in with these people too.”

And obviously with apprenticeships you get so many different types of people for so many different types of reasons going into it, so it was really good to see that. That stuck with me.

Even though I’ve got a communications degree, I looked at the modules for the apprenticeship and realised I had only done about three minutes on half of the things that are covered, so it’s all going to be new knowledge and all going to be new learning.

How have the first few months been?

I can’t believe how much I’ve learnt in such a short period of time. The apprenticeship is really informing my projects within the business and each step is building my confidence as I understand more.

It’s great to have access to some real marketing gurus too in my coach and trainer, who are always happy to help out, whether it’s a question on the apprenticeship side of things or more company-specific.

I’m loving it!

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