Written by Lucy Pilejko
As I was nearing the end of my time at college and completing my A-levels, the big question I was asking myself and others around was, “What’s next?”.
At the time, the ‘traditional’ route that had been presented to me by my peers was full time university. However, this never excited or appealed to me that much. During my time in education, I discovered I was more of a hands-on learner and enjoyed this way of learning a lot more.
I confided in my college Tutor, and she mentioned degree apprenticeships. This was something I was not overly familiar with but once she explained and I went away to do some research, I realised this was the route that was perfect for me and my future! There were so many advantages to degree apprenticeships that added to my desire to pursue this path:
- Learning from experts in the industry
- Earning money while you learn
- Receive a degree at the same level as others studying in full time Uni
- Meeting new people and building relationships
- Experience in a full-time job you want to pursue
- No student debt and being financially stable
- Still have the chance to experience Uni and meet other people doing the same course as you
The benefits were overwhelming!
After deciding this was something I wanted to pursue, I then started thinking about what exactly I wanted to do a degree apprenticeship in. Digital Marketing was something I found a passion for through getting an A-level in media studies and being very invested in online marketing in my own time. Therefore, I decided this was the right career path for me.
When looking for a degree apprenticeship, I went on the Manchester Metropolitan University website and looked at the ones they were advertising. This is when I came across COUCH!
I was intrigued by the ethos and mission COUCH Health had as an agency which I felt aligned with my own beliefs and values as well as the business being able to offer me a great opportunity to learn everything I would need to know about my future Career and an industry I had little knowledge on but was keen to learn about. So I applied, and my digital marketing and COUCH journey started from there.
My course and apprenticeship with Man Met and COUCH Health is 4 years long, and I spend 80% of my time in work and 20% of my time in University. I am currently in my third year, and I am grateful for the amount I have learnt from both.
Spending 20% of my time at University has helped me learn more about digital marketing methods, theories, and practices that are widely used. We complete assignments that are related to our own businesses, so we can go away and put it into real-life practice as well as learning new skills and techniques. I have met so many wonderful people since being at Uni, including people who are completing the same course as me as well as the lecturers and experts. Having other students in my class who are on the same 4-year journey as me, has also helped me to learn from them and find someone to relate to. The course itself is packed full of useful tips and practices to help me become a better and more knowledgeable digital marketer!
Working at COUCH Health over the past 2 years, I can already see a change in myself becoming a more confident and professional individual. Before I started at COUCH, I wasn’t the most outgoing person, and sometimes felt quite nervous in situations. When I joined, the team at COUCH made me feel so welcome and part of the team straight away. I have learnt many skills about being a professional and having a full-time job including the little things like communicating with the team and clients whilst having fun and enjoying myself at the same time.
A big part of my learning at COUCH Health is talking to the experts we have within the team who have been in the industry for a while — they are there for me to learn from and ask as many questions as possible. My knowledge of digital marketing has grown massively since I first started and a big part of this is the team walking me through things I need to know and then letting me implement this into the business, whilst still being there for me to ask questions along the way. I have found a great support network within the team.
I started off as a junior digital marketing executive and have worked hard and set my own targets along with the targets I have set with my manager. I have now been promoted to digital marketing executive and this was a rewarding feeling as it showed that even though I am still an apprentice, it doesn’t mean I can’t still move forward in my career and have goals.
I have also gained a lot more knowledge of the healthcare industry. When I first joined, I will admit, I didn’t have a great lot of knowledge of the industry. However, the team never looked down on me for this and only helped to increase my understanding through conversations, training etc.
My aspirations for the future are to continue developing my knowledge and skills, to become a professional individual that myself, colleagues, friends and family can be proud of.
Overall, my degree apprenticeship so far is the best decision I have ever made. I have met so many wonderful people, learnt so much and I am just enjoying my young career. I wrote this blog for others who are considering taking a degree apprenticeship and want to get kick started in their career. Personally, I would take the plunge!