At Westcoast we continuously look to assist and help our staff develop their professional skills and careers. Eden joined our team nearly 2 years ago as a machine operator, but we instantly knew he had more to offer. So, in partnership with a local training provider, we enrolled and funded a level 3 apprenticeship in Content Production for him. This will enable Eden to also step into the Westcoast 'Marketing' seat, run our social pages and help us engage with current and potential customers digitally. Below Eden tells us about his apprenticeship experience and how it will help develop his career.
"Over the past 14 months or so, I have been taking part in the Junior Content Producer Level 3 apprenticeship. My employer gave me around 1.5 days per week in the office to concentrate on the qualification. It's been a long road, but I have finally reached the end. And as such, I thought I'd share a bit about what the past 14 months have been like.
A big part of what I was doing on the course was business operations, giving me an excellent grasp on how Westcoast is run from top to bottom. Having to research effectively and efficiently for the business was a skill I knew how to do somewhat, but having taken part in this course I have been able to truly hone these skills in a way that will help me in any future ventures that I may encounter. Additionally, having a BTEC in Business Studies at A-Level gave me a helpful boost in understanding a lot of the language used on the course from the outset. I believe that this helped me put together some of the more detailed work on the course and allowed me to push myself further throughout.
The JCP apprenticeship was, however, primarily digital marketing and content creation.
course. This allowed me so many opportunities to be creative, particularly with social media,
photography and video editing. All these aspects pushed me to a new level with each new skill learned and each new program more accessible to me. The social media side of things I found particularly interesting as it showed me an abundance of new ways to market myself and the business of Westcoast Workwear for potential clients.
Social media is a lot of things. Some good, some bad. But one thing I have learned over the past 14 months is that social media connects you with people that you never thought you.
would or could connect with. The key is to make everything you do interesting and keep people coming back for more. If you put effort into what you do on social media, you will get so much out of it.
But it isn't all about social media!
A lot of what I did across my apprenticeship was to do with the development of my personal
career and how I can utilize my skills to develop this. With a significant chunk of time dedicated to developing new skills and behaviors that can be taken across my future career, I have been able to develop a plan for how I will continue through the working world. Whilst not everything across this year or so has been good, the amount I have learned and discovered about myself has made it all worth it in the end. Namely, the personal growth that I have seen in myself in terms of work ethic and creative knowledge that will continue to develop across the rest of my life.
The most stressful part of this course was, without question, the EPA (End-Point Assessment).
A three-step final assessment that takes place over two weeks to determine the final grade.
The first part was a ‘Workplace Observation’, which is as simple as joining a Teams meeting and doing some assigned work from your manager over a period. You may have to answer the occasional questions but overall, a straightforward part of the assessment. I found it to be a surprisingly relaxed atmosphere throughout, helped massively by the very pleasant and professional adjudicator assigned to oversee the test. I came out with a Pass from this section.
Secondly, there is the ‘Set Brief’ test. This is a much more intense part of the assessment. This involved being given a business that required a marketing pitch and had to meet certain requirements. Taking place over a total of 4 hours, the test is split into 3 hours of research & planning followed by 1 hour of pitching. The stress I felt doing this part was palpable, having to develop what was essentially the entirety of a marketing campaign with specific notes and ideals within 3 hours was a challenge, but one that I pushed myself to meet (I'm still not amazing with time management but this course and the support of my line managers has really helped me develop this). Once that was done, it was The Pitch. One hour of desperately trying not to trip over words or misspeak and give the adjudicator the chance to ask a question regarding the ins and outs of the freshly created campaign. But, once again, the adjudicator gave me time to collect my thoughts and take a breath and smash through the pitch with aplomb receiving a Distinction for this section.
Finally, the ‘Professional Discussion’ came around. Only an hour in length. A conversation led by the adjudicator in which they asked questions relating to the course and overall topics within and I answered by trying to tie said answers into my experience and the portfolio I had developed over the course of the apprenticeship. I had practiced different questions in the lead up with my course leader to give me a sense of how the questions would be presented and how I should answer them. I have to say, if it wasn't for this, I never would have passed. Having that previous knowledge to go back to and keeping in mind how to answer those questions made all the difference. To tell you the truth, I was extremely nervous for this test. In the end, we got there and with no less than full marks too, earning myself a Distinction.
Now, I didn't find out my grades immediately. Although I was told if it was a pass or fail for each part of the EPA. After 2 long weeks of waiting, the email came through and
confirmed that I had ended the course with a PASS!
Honestly, it was a weight lifted off my shoulders and I felt like I could walk on the clouds. Finally getting to the end of this course after a long, long 14 months was a great moment for me and one that will allow me to propel myself further. Westcoast Workwear has now got access to a qualified Content Producer. Which I personally don't think is too shabby. Onwards and upwards"