National Apprenticeship Week – The Grant Thornton Experience

National Apprenticeship Week is co-ordinated by the National Apprenticeship Service and is designed to celebrate apprenticeships and the positive impact they have on individuals, businesses and the wider economy. We hear from Nick in the Digital Media team who shares his Grant Thornton story.

When one thinks of Grant Thornton, or any other professional services firm for that matter, the first word that pops into one’s head is “accountants” which is not a word I get that excited by. It came as a surprise therefore, to a somewhat naïve 20 year old Nick, that such a firm even had a marketing department and were recruiting for an Apprentice in the Digital Marketing team. The apprenticeship in question is the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy Level 5 Higher Apprenticeship in Business Innovation and Growth. To say this caught my interest would have be an understated as it was the perfect opportunity for me to move into the wider world of work whilst also learning about and earning a respectable qualification in business innovation.

My main day to day jobs are:
–  keeping the firm’s social media platforms updated
– working with the marketing team to help their social media marketing
– collecting and analysing social media data to give updates to the marketing team and wider firm
– using social media listening tools for both internal research and to provide some “added value” information for our client facing teams to discuss with clients.

This is, in many ways therefore, an ideal position for an apprentice. I get to speak to people from all different areas of the business and are kept in the loop of all major marketing campaigns. I also get to attend a variety of different external events meeting with other professionals in the digital media/marketing space. I have had a vast amount of opportunities and am able to get involved with a lot of extracurricular activities which builds my network and my skillset.

The best part of my apprenticeship has been how my college assignments in the second year been focussed on my own work projects at Grant Thornton. I have the opportunity to not only learn about project management, models of change, risk assessments, writing business plans and more, but to use those skills in real life in a real business. This gives me the chance to discover what I’m good at and where I need to improve whilst also seeing the project in action and how theories and models actually work. This on the job style of learning is, I believe, far more valuable than learning full time at university and then applying the knowledge afterwards. Moreover, I learn alongside learning how Grant Thornton operates meaning I am always thinking how different models and theories will work in my department and further afield in Grant Thornton.

Given the structure of the apprentice course, a lot of the studying is done outside of college as we “learn on the job” and get to work through our assignments at a pace suited to our role. When at college we have done some very innovative tasks which have included creating a business plan for a new entrepreneur hub, reviewing business plans for start-ups and presenting our findings to the CEO of a start-up funding company and creating a timeline of events for a potential new campaign to be launched by Unilever. I have also learnt how to use profit & loss accounts and balance sheets and have reviewed Tesco’s financial statements as part of an assignment. The skills I learn are not only valuable to my role but will be useful in many different roles at Grant Thornton giving me a really flexible future and even more opportunities to take part in extracurricular activities.

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