Apprenticeships - From An Employer's Perspective

October 12, 2020

I had the pleasure of chatting with one of our employer’s, Joanna Saxton, the Marketing and Social Media Manager at Eden Tyres. We covered the general apprentice-employer queries, but I also got to find out a bit more about Joanna and the reasoning behind her decision to hire a digital marketing apprentice through EMA.

Joanna has been working at Eden Tyres for six years now, and the company has grown immensely. At the time she started, there were only eight or nine branches, this has now grown to eighteen branches! As you can imagine, when the company began to grow, so did the responsibilities within each role and the amount of work Joanna has had to handle. After some consideration, Joanna saw this as the perfect opportunity to hire someone who is willing to grow with the company and saw that hiring an apprentice would be somewhat of a “luxury” for her. This is the first apprentice for Eden Tyres, and Joanna described this as “perfect”, the apprentice will be filling a new role whilst also bringing something new to the department. It’s so important for an apprentice to fit in with the culture of a company and to feel like they can thrive in this new role. Joanna shared with me that she really does think that their new apprentice is in many ways, a perfect fit. One of Eden Tyres partners is Derby County, and their new apprentice is a big fan of Derby County (something that neither myself or Joanna could particularly relate to!); sometimes it is reassuring to both apprentice and employer that they have interests in the role that are not necessarily directly linked to their job description.

Many people feel the pressure to follow the direct path of primary school – secondary school – college – university – job. But it doesn’t always work out this way. It was so interesting to hear Joanna’s story on the route she found herself on, which has led her to the amazing role she is now in. After secondary education, Joanna didn’t jump straight to university but instead was met with an abundance of opportunities within the working world – and found herself working on cruise ships. A few years later, Joanna decided she wanted to let her creative juices flow and went to do an Art degree at Nottingham University, which she loved! After this, Joanna acquired herself a job that, on paper, was perfect. However, she found herself unhappy and knew that it wasn’t for her. A while later, Joanna became a receptionist at Eden Tyres and as time went by, she was able to work her way up in the company to where she is now, Marketing and Social Media Manager! This is a role which Joanna may not have ever thought she would be in, but truly loves and looks forward to each day of work.

Why did I make sure to ask Joanna this… why am I putting this for you to read? It’s so important for people – both apprentice and employer – to understand that there is no one path. If you do not feel like the traditional route is for you, you should not feel the pressure to follow that route. Something Joanna said which resonates with this, is that a lot of people assume “University solves everything, but it doesn’t”, for many people it is the perfect option and for those people they should go with their gut and go to university, and the exact same advice to those who feel differently – follow your gut! There’s no rule that you have to get it right, first try.

Talking specifically about digital marketing, I asked Joanna if she would suggest the apprenticeship route for anyone questioning a career in this industry. From her experience, Joanna explained that because digital marketing is such a fast-paced industry, an apprenticeship seems to be the “more effective” way to get involved in this trade. Building on this, she went on to say that because apprentices are learning on the job and learning at quite a quick pace, as the industry grows, so do they.  

As this is Eden Tyres first apprentice hire, I was fascinated to see if Joanna had any advice for other employer’s debating whether to hire an apprentice. As an employer, you have “got nothing to lose”, Joanna further explained that she was pleasantly surprised with the standard of apprentice applications and think other employers will be also. Joanna suggested that employers should know what job role they want filling, the ins and outs, then with applications, the decision can be an easy one. For example, for the digital marketing role at Eden Tyres, Joanna explained that she is looking forward to having a young person’s input, as they have grown up in a digital era and will have fresh ideas on how to use various media platforms, which of course is a big part of digital marketing and makes them potentially a “huge asset”.

Picking the right training provider to work with is a big part of hiring the right apprentice and I wanted to know how Joanna found working with EMA. The big thing that Joanna stressed was how supportive EMA were, particularly our Chief Operating Officer, James Stafford, who shortlisted applicants for Eden Tyres and ensured that there was clear communication throughout the whole process. Joanna said that with the consistent communication and support, the process was an easy one.

If the apprenticeship route sounds appealing to you, or you would like to hear more about it, please contact us at info@ematraining.co.uk or call us on 01332271666