How to deliver digital marketing apprenticeships

According to data from the Q1 2017 IPA Bellwether Report, marketing budgets in the UK increased in the first quarter of 2017, with significant growth seen in internet and main media advertising categories.

Indeed, the report suggests that the overall outlook for 2017/18 is positive, with 26.1% of companies suggesting growth in total budgets for the coming year. The growth of internet-based marketing is notable in that is outstripping more traditional forms of marketing.

And stats like these emphasise quite how important digital skills are becoming to a growing number of businesses. From retailers and technology firms to logistics and XXX, using digital channels and methods is now one of  – if not the main – way of connecting with new customers.

But for many companies, making sure they have the right skills in place to exploit the opportunities that digital transformation offers is no simple task. Previously, most would largely rely on either the new intake of staff, typically graduates, or would invest in training existing staff.

However, recent research from Arch Apprentices carried out amongst 750 business leaders in the UK shows that a quarter of respondents believe universities do not teach digital skills that UK PLC need, while over a third (36%) believe digital experience is more important to the hiring process than a formal degree qualification.

Given that, it’s not surprising that Digital Marketing apprenticeships are growing in popularity. They offer a cost effective way of quickly upskilling a business with the necessary capabilities to really drive digital transformation. And with the introduction of the new Apprenticeship Levy, there hasn’t been a better time to jump on board.

So how to deliver digital marketing apprenticeships?

The first steps are simple: decide what skills you need. For many that will move the recruitment process away from the graduate side and towards a more vocational approach. The Arch research showed that almost two thirds of respondents (61%) said they would happily hire someone without a degree qualification, only 37% felt a formal degree qualification was an important part of the hiring process, compared to 36% who said digital experience was more important.

It’s unsurprising, then, that more businesses are looking to bring in digital natives keen to enter the workplace to both learn and bring fresh thinking.

So, what skills does the business need? Answer this and you’re halfway there.

Once the key needs have been identified, then it’s a question of finding the right training provider. Doing this isn’t rocket science:  find a provider with a clear understanding of your needs. With an apprenticeship provider that will centre on working collaboratively with their clients on getting the right skills at the right price. They will also handle the recruitment process and shortlist suitable candidates to interview; manage the paperwork once a potential apprentice has been found; provide training to the apprentice and provide ongoing assessment, support and advice throughout the training period to the business.

With all of these boxes checked, the final job is to decide how to finance the delivery of the apprenticeships. And that’s where the Apprenticeship Levy comes in. The Levy, which was introduced in April this year, is designed to encourage UK businesses to invest more in bringing in new apprentices as well as upskilling existing staff.

And with supply of tech talent struggling to keep pace with demand, the Apprenticeship Levy is a great opportunity for Tech companies to recruit young digitally native talent and digitally upskill existing employees.

So, whatever the business’s needs, there’s a good chance that it will require some element of digital transformation. And for that to happen, apprentices need to take the wheel and drive change.


Christian Doherty has been a business journalist for 14 years covering subjects ranging from skills, HR issues, management, finance and regulation.

 

 

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