From University Graduate to Apprentice.
Issabelle Toop, one of our amazing Level 3 Digital Marketers here at FNTC Training in Southampton and today she has shared with us her story of how she went from University graduate to hard-working Apprentice. Despite the twists, turns and unplanned events, Issabelle is well on her way to a successful future in her dream career.
A year ago, I didn’t know much about Apprenticeships and I never thought I would be doing one myself, especially after University. Summer 2018, I graduated from Falmouth University after studying a subject I have always loved, and I was positive that I would be able to start my dream career as a self-employed artist.
It turned out that starting my new life as a self-employed artist was harder than I thought, and I realised that getting into the creative industry wasn’t easy. I began to see how restricted I was by my career choice, so I decided to branch out and look for a creative entry-level job to support myself. Searching for a job was challenging and because I had been in education my whole life, with only a few short-term, part-time jobs on my CV, I didn’t qualify for most jobs I applied for, due to “lack of experience”.
Instead of accepting defeat, I decided to push with my self-employed dream and I started building myself an online presence as an artist. A few months passed and despite my efforts, my work wasn’t getting the exposure I had hoped. I realised that without marketing knowledge, I wouldn’t be able to effectively advertise my work and sell my art. I tried my best to gain the basic skills and understanding of digital marketing, but relentless searching online only led me to brief overviews, hints and tips. What I needed was solid, clear and concise guidance on how to produce content, advertise my goods and how to target my ideal audience.
I desperately began another job search looking for absolutely anything in my local area, and low and behold, I scrolled across FNTC Training’s Level 3 Digital Marketing Apprenticeship vacancy.
“This is exactly what I need”, I thought.
This was my opportunity to be taught the relevant skills I needed in order for me to accomplish my dream. I’d be able to learn and gain a qualification, whilst working for a real business in a fast-paced environment, as well as gain valuable experience which would supplement my CV, all whilst earning a wage.
Although I felt I had hit the jackpot with this role, I still had my concerns. I had independence at University and thought moving back home would be temporary. However, this role meant I would continue to be financially dependent on my parents, longer than they or I expected.
Seeing as I would need my parents support, I gathered all the evidence I could find explaining how this Apprenticeship would benefit me and pitched the role to my parents. Without hesitation, they approved and I applied immediately. Unlike other applications I sent off, FNTC contacted me within a week or so and before I knew it, I had an interview. I’m very proud to say that I was offered the role as Digital Marketer and I swiftly got enrolled onto the Digital Marketing Apprenticeship course.
As well as being offered a role in order to complete my Apprenticeship, I was offered another position by a local company which would allow me to become more financially independent, calming my previous concerns.
Everything felt like it was falling into place and my dreams suddenly didn’t feel so out of reach.
I couldn’t believe that my efforts paid off and I successfully landed a job which would not only support my dream career but would also equip me with the skills I needed to make my dream a reality.
I’m now 10 months into my Apprenticeship and I feel like a whole new person. University shaped me in ways I didn’t believe were possible and my Apprenticeship has given me the boost I needed to get where I want to be. Having the opportunity to learn and grow in a fast-paced working environment where I can put my newly learnt skills to use, has been exciting and interesting. With support from my tutor and manager, I have been able to learn from my work and continue to develop professionally and personally.
I am extremely proud to say that I have passed all three of my exams and I’m currently working on completing my portfolio. Although classes have now finished, I’m still learning new and valuable skills daily and I’m looking forward to using them in my professional career. My support network at FNTC has been endlessly supportive throughout my employment and training, especially with certain tasks and responsibilities which are affected by my dyslexia. There are regular 1-to-1’s which encourage me to work on my strengths and allow me to set personalised work goals to ensure that I keep reaching my full potential. All of which has led me to be in a position where I feel confident enough to take on a full-time role as a Digital Marketer for a larger business.
One piece of advice I would give to anyone with a dream who find themselves struggling – don’t give up! Research all avenues which lead you to your goal and don’t be afraid of trying something new or going the unexpected route. With all the Apprenticeship opportunities out there today, for all ages and backgrounds, you don’t know where you could end up.
No matter your age, education history, skillset or ability, there will be an Apprenticeship out there perfect for you, and I encourage everyone interested, to get in contact with FNTC Training to create your brighter future.