Social Media Apprentice Ben Catton tells us about his ACT experience so far:
I am studying a Level 3 Apprenticeship in Social Media and Marketing at professional Sky Bet League Two football club, Newport County AFC.
I was stuck between choosing university at the end of my A Level studies or going on a gap year because, while I knew I was sure about a career in sports media, I was unsure on how to properly get myself in to the industry. I found out about the ACT Apprenticeship while researching what I was going to do once I finished my A Levels. Not knowing whether university was not only worth my time but also my money, I was eager to educate myself about other options.
I spoke with the club CEO about the possibility of the Apprenticeship going ahead and he was very keen to employ me and get me started as soon as possible. It felt great to be Newport County AFC’s first Apprentice.
My title within the club is Media Apprentice. I work on all of the Club social media accounts, create and publish all iFollowExiles related content as well as writing articles for the website.
I feel like the quality and amount of content being produced from within the club social media and video service has really stepped up this year which is fantastic to be responsible for.
Every day is different when working at a football club, that’s for sure! Whether it be moving offices at the start of the season or being part of the ticket selling team when Emirates FA Cup fever took over the city, it has been a terrific experience so far.
I am yet to spend a single day away from the club office and in a classroom, which is fantastic in my opinion! I would always choose to be closer to a football pitch than a classroom and that has been exactly the case so far in my Apprenticeship. Because my learning assessor travels to my location, I don’t have to leave the office.
All work is completed when that meeting takes place in the office, once a month. I would not prefer it any other way. As is the case with most of ACT’s programmes, whether that is a Traineeship, Apprenticeship or Higher Apprenticeship, learners achieve nationally-recognised qualifications, learn on the job, earn a wage, gain skills and build a rewarding career.
I feel that University students barely ever experience actual working situations whereas I'm facing those every day. And of course, students leave university thousands of pounds in debt whilst I've been earning money. When you weight up those factors, for me the decision to choose an Apprenticeship was easy.
An Apprenticeship takes everything that is good about a degree - being able to learn and study in the sector you're interested in - but also allows you to earn a wage and get practical, hands-on experience working in the sector you want a full-time job in one day. It is the best of both worlds and a perfect mix in my opinion.
I am currently also looking at the possibility of studying a Higher Apprenticeship in Digital Marketing at Newport County AFC which is an exciting prospect and something I am looking forward to finding more about. After studying this Apprenticeship, even though it is a Level 3 qualification, it has really opened my mind up to the fact that university degrees are no longer absolutely necessary if you want to go on and have a brilliant job in a professional sector, there are other ways to get there!
Follow Ben on Twitter @Catton99 to see what he gets up to during the rest of his Apprenticeship!
If you’re reading this and you haven’t bagged yourself an Apprenticeship yet, check out our Apprenticeship vacancies. We have hundreds of vacancies across South and Mid Wales with employers looking for bright young candidates like you. We also have connections with over 700 employers and continue to help over 6,500 young Welsh people achieve their career ambitions.