Natasha Brayford, aged 20 from Northwood, is a full-time apprentice within the Marketing & Communications team at Aspire Housing. She is working towards a Level 2 Diploma in IT & Business Administration.
Here she tells us about learning at work as an apprentice:
"I didn’t feel college was right for me after being there for two years; I wanted to do something different which led me to doing a two-year apprenticeship through PM Training.
Going for an apprenticeship is a great opportunity to learn a trade while you get paid. I have gained so many skills and techniques that I use in my day-to-day business life and I am working alongside experienced staff members who have helped and supported me.
In the Marketing & Communications team, my role varies; I collect the local newspaper to check for any press coverage and then share any articles with our Executive team, giving a brief summary of the coverage.
Requests for the printing of new company literature and assets, such as posters and A5 booklets, come into me. I liaise with members of the Housing team for quantities and ensure printer settings are correct before sorting and sending out.
My work can also include stock taking which involves updating an Excel spreadsheet on print items that we are running low on. As we are doing more online, we are saving money – but this still helps with my organisational skills. If new items are needed I raise a purchase order with our Finance system.
I monitor our social media channels for activity and start to schedule items to post over the coming days, while also tracking our followers and success rates. Each week I attend the Marketing & Communications team meeting where we share ideas and talk about upcoming campaigns we can implement across social, on-site and off-site.
Going for an apprenticeship is a great opportunity to learn a trade while you get paid.
My role can also include visiting our other businesses, such as PM Training, to take photos of other apprentices in action. Afterwards, I edit the images using Photoshop, select the best ones, and post them on social media.
Part of my role includes offering admin support to other teams across the organisation. My most recent activities in this area have been providing our Shared Ownership team with event materials, creating folders and customer packs for a weekend event.
My apprenticeship means I get to experience a variety of marketing aspects and software - drafting ideas for a poster campaign allows me to get to grips with InDesign, while updating website content offers an insight into using WordPress.
I also carry out social media research, looking at other businesses and their Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts, along with elements of SEO and keyword tracking.
It has been amazing learning so much and working with different people. I have learned better communication skills and feel more confident with emails and dealing with colleagues and suppliers.
When I started the apprenticeship a year and a half ago, I was extremely nervous and quiet, but as I have become more involved, I'm pleased that my confidence has improved to the point where I'm now comfortable speaking with people on the phone.
My advice to other young people looking at apprenticeships would be to go for it because it is a great opportunity. If I wasn't doing my apprenticeship at Aspire, I'd probably still be looking for a job, doing any shop work I could get. This has given me a sense of achievement and a spring board to go on and achieve much more."
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