We caught up with our latest member of the marketing team, Charlie Paris-McKenzie, who is joining us as an apprentice. Here’s what he had to say about the benefits of enrolling on an apprenticeship in the changing business world:
Hi – I’m Charlie, I’m 18 years old and having recently joined Curve’s growing team in a marketing role, I’m excited to begin my career under the apprenticeship program, opting out of the university route.
Apprenticeships are becoming more and more popular as time progresses, with participation currently standing at a record level. There were 491,300 apprenticeship starts in the 2016-2017 academic year, with 92% of apprentices saying their career prospects have improved. Despite the impressive figures, I believe they need to continue to increase.
For years, university has been recognised as the sole option for students if they wish to lead a conventionally successful career; people without degree qualifications were unable to progress as far in their field as those with a degree. In reality though, many people can’t afford to pay the course requirements, whilst others express their intelligence through practical exercises rather than academically.
Finally, businesses are catching up. As the apprenticeship scheme grows, practically-earned qualifications and experience are being valued just as highly as a degree. This information along with the opportunity to earn a full-time wage without worrying about any debt fees is attracting a growing amount of individuals to enroll on an apprenticeship, just as it attracted me.
Why did I choose an apprenticeship?
Taking the route of an apprenticeship as an alternative to university is an option I’m grateful for. Being a kinaesthetic learner, being able to achieve valuable qualifications whilst gaining practical work experience is a route that suits me perfectly. Not only this, but the apprenticeship scheme allows individuals like myself to reach a level of professionalism at a young age, preparing for a successful future and career.
Throughout education, whether it be in secondary school or towards the back end of sixth form, many students are unsure of what to do next. The thought that the choice you make could define the rest of your career is daunting. Despite this, with a growing number of businesses from a range of industries seeking to develop young learners in the apprenticeship program, the opportunities are endless. After researching into the next steps I could take following the completion of my A levels, this quickly became apparent to me; deciding that it’s something I’d love to be involved in.
Why the tech industry?
A career in tech is one of the most exciting industries for aspiring apprentices. As technology evolves, the number of businesses “going digital” is growing at an alarming rate. Development of new software, gadgets and technological products has also opened up a huge array of jobs and opportunities. Aspiring apprentices of the younger generation – social media savvys and digital whizzes – dominate the technologically advanced demographic, which employers recognise.
When I came across a blog showcasing the career path of a digital marketer and the opportunities available for aspiring apprentices, I knew it was the right option for me. The rapid growth in the amount of digital and social content has caused a boom in digital marketing. Having grown up in a generation surrounded and driven by tech and social media, the ability to be creative and expressive within the expanding tech industry is what attracted me to a career in this field.
What help is at hand during your search for an apprenticeship role?
During my search for a digital marketing role, I came across WhiteHat – a tech startup that provides great opportunities for career-focused apprenticeships. After being accepted following their interactive application process, they help you find a role that’s perfectly suited for you. The process includes writing a flexible personal statement, creating a digital profile through video and conducting personality tests.
WhiteHat also provide tips & tricks from interview skills to organisational techniques to you along with other candidates, teaching valuable qualities in preparation for a professional career.
This process was fun and entertaining with elements of it putting me out of my comfort zone (such as the video digital profile); which in turn gave me all the confidence I needed to land an apprenticeship role. This is when WhiteHat introduced me to Curve – offering a role which suited me perfectly.
It’s exciting to be a part of an expanding fintech company. Curve has taken a revolutionary concept of financial management and turned it into a reality, which to be able to work with is a great opportunity.
I also liked the idea of ‘working and learning’ in a company like Curve. An apprenticeship in a startup is a great way to gain hands on experience in your field as well as learning about all aspects of the team – from marketers, to analysts, to software developers.
With companies such as WhiteHat and Curve deeply committed to seeing apprentices succeed, there is no better time for young learners to take the apprenticeship path. The scale of opportunities is huge, and it’s only growing.