Jasmin is on a Lloyds Banking Group Higher Apprenticeship in Marketing. What has she discovered so far?
My apprenticeship – ‘Beats the lecture hall’
“My apprenticeship was a quick decision – I suddenly decided I’d rather be getting practical skills at work than going to a lecture hall every day.
“I wanted to learn, contribute, earn a regular salary, get a recognised qualification.
“So I was really happy to discover that Lloyds Banking Group runs apprenticeships for people with A levels. It was an opportunity too good to miss.”
Work culture – ‘Friendly, approachable’
“The thing that’s surprised me most is the work culture. I thought it’d be very formal and corporate but actually everyone’s very relaxed and approachable, willing to give you support.
“Forget the stereotypical image of how apprentices are treated – as soon as I joined, I realised it was a myth.
“I’m treated as an equal colleague, same as everyone else. They’re dead serious about helping us get the skills and knowledge for us to go up against graduates and do as well as them.”
My motto – ‘Do your best to help’
“I’m a sociable person, always happy to chat to people, although I also like to get things done.
“I was the Under 18 rep on the committee for my local netball team, and I get very passionate when I’m performing in a team, always wanting to do my best to help with morale and team bonding.
“These personal qualities have come into play in my apprenticeship, making projects happen, simplifying information about our financial products so that customers understand them, find them interesting, and ultimately choose them.
“Obviously I have regular face-to-face meetings, but I’m also discovering the importance of non-verbal communications, like writing good clear emails.
“This is especially important when I’m dealing with stakeholders, colleagues who have a stake – a particular interest – in the work I’m doing for them.
“Stakeholders are basically my clients.”
My work today – ‘Communicating simply and clearly’
“I work on product communications in the Scottish Widows Marcomms team – ‘Marcomms’ means marketing communications.
“I make sure the product communications that go out to our customers are accurate, up to date and on-message, and I do this on a number of projects at any one time.
“This is why my planning and organisational skills have to be spot-on, so that I can deliver with minimal or no delay.
“I’ve learnt how to produce many different pieces of marketing communication, and developed a deeper knowledge of our products and the markets in which we sell them.
“When I understand the product, I can communicate it much more simply and clearly to customers – it makes all the difference.
“I’ve even been a campaign manager on some projects. Being handed that level of responsibility so soon, there was no way I was going to let anyone down!”
Flexible working – ‘I perform better’
“Flexible working helps me to perform so much better in my job.
“There are times when I need to move my hours around, or to work from home, and my line manager is happy for me to do that.
“It’s good not to I feel as if I’m letting anyone down by not being in the office. It means I can relax and do better work, knowing that the Group supports flexible working.”
This time next year – ‘A larger audience’
“I really like it here. I feel like I’ve tapped into a great network of fellow marketers and made connections with supportive and talented people.
“A year from now I want to be an Assistant Marketing Manager, with more experience of different marketing platforms, and producing campaigns for a larger audience.
“In three years, I see myself still working in Marcomms, but shaping up to be a marketing expert in a particular area. Which one? I’m not sure yet.
“But there’s no rush. Three years is a long time, I’m sure I’ll have discovered a lot more about myself by then– what I’m good at and what interests me the most – and should give me a clear plan for my way forward.”
My manager and mentors – ‘They help me discover’
“My manager and my mentors, they’ve all been key in helping me discover more about myself and how I want to develop.
“My manager in particular is always here to support me. We have regular 121 meeting, where we talk about my strengths and my development.
“She invariably has work lined up that helps improve my skill sets, and she encourages me to get active in events going on outside my day to day job.
“This has made a big difference. I’ve gained a broader view of the business, and grasped how important it is to do these extra things so that I can develop in other ways, meet new people, discover new opportunities.
“I’ve already moved around a little in Marcomms, which has given me a more rounded view, and I’ve also been involved in a number of training programmes.
“The training programme that stood out most for me was the Digital Expert Day.
“It made me realise how much more there is to digital marketing than social media! It’s made me eager to reach out and learn more.”
Beyond work – ‘Become an Apprentice Ambassador’
“Getting involved in activities beyond my job has opened new doors for me. For instance, I’m now a Lloyds Banking Group Apprentice Ambassador.
“I went as an Apprentice Ambassador to The NEC in Birmingham to attend a careers fair, where I shared with students my experience of being an apprentice.
“I’ve also been in live chats with students. All these things are very rewarding, because I can see that what I’m saying is having a positive impact.
“Anything I can do to promote apprenticeships, I will. This is because I wholeheartedly believe in them.”
My defining moment – ‘Winning a Value in Action award’
“Value in Action awards happen every quarter and cover all of Group Brands and Marketing at Lloyds Banking Group.
“Only six people get chosen, and I was lucky enough to win one. It was in recognition of my contribution to the Lloyds Banking Group Apprentice Ambassador programme.
“I never thought an apprentice would ever win an award like that, because the standards are so high and the competition is so intense.
“But it goes to show that the Group really does value its apprentices, and it’s ok for me to say that I fully deserve my place here – and my award.
“It makes me feel rightly proud and confident to say that.”
Get ready – ‘Here’s what to expect…’
“So, in a nutshell, here’s what to expect… you get thrown straight into your role. It sounds scary, but it’s actually the best way for you to get learning, and to take on the responsibility you didn’t think you were going to get!
“They hire you because they have faith that you can do the job. Remember that – and don’t go changing.
“Just relax yourself. You’ll discover that your initial nerves are perfectly normal and understandable, and that everyone supports you and helps you to integrate.
“You’ll also discover that, whatever apprenticeship you go for, it’ll be in an area that’s important to the business, and this means that you’ll be important to the business too – which makes you marketable.
“If you like working with people, you’ll love this apprenticeship. I definitely got it right, starting my career now rather than later.
“So go on, give your career a kick-start and grab the opportunity now – just like I did!”
I had A Levels and a place at Uni, but I chose to kick-start my career and go straight into marketing