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Advertorial: in association with Amazon

Louise Dawe-Smith: “Confidence is the biggest thing an apprenticeship can teach you”

An apprentice shares her views on the benefits of studying whilst working, and how it has helped her learn new skills.

Louise Dawe-Smith is an apprentice with Adopstar, an ad operations company based in Cullompton, Devon. She has been working at the company since 2022.

How did you become an apprentice with Adopstar?

I had finished my A-levels and I was supposed to go to university in Swansea in September 2022. I’d planned everything out, and I’d got my student loan through. I don’t know the pivotal point when that changed but I had spoken to a few of my friends who had done degrees and now don’t really use them, and I thought I’d have a look into apprenticeships. I came across Adopstar, and they were hiring. I went to my interview and thought, I feel more comfortable with this. I was quite a shy person anyway, so staying at home and being able to work alongside learning was better for me.

Where did you start out at Adopstar?

I was completely fresh. I’d never done anything IT-related before, so I started off with a lot of training. I initially shadowed more senior colleagues; I watched how they worked with a variety of different clients, and then the roles reversed, and they shadowed me. This meant they could give me feedback. I think that system works quite well because you’re watching someone complete a task and then practising it. Then I picked up a client, which was a big moment as I’d never done anything like that before. This was all during my exams, as I was working towards an off-the-job qualification. I’ve finished my apprenticeship now, and I’m looking at getting funding for my next one.

What skills have you learnt?

I had an A-level in business studies before I started, which helped with the marketing aspects of my job. But I had absolutely no IT skills whatsoever. I’ve learned how to use Google Ad Manager and other marketing platforms, which has been a great help. But the biggest skill I’ve learned is confident communication. If my boss had asked me to talk to a client in the first week of work, I would have said “no, absolutely not”. But now being able to walk into a workplace and confidently talk to colleagues and clients – that’s the biggest thing an apprenticeship can teach you. I’ve been able to do qualifications alongside my work. For example, I have achieved some Google certificates for ad management. There are constantly things you can learn and develop. Our managers give us plenty of opportunities to reach out and ask to do an extra certificate or shadow them working on a project.

What would you say to other people who are considering doing an apprenticeship?

If you’re considering it, then you’re probably thinking maybe you would prefer it. It’s quite a big decision to make, choosing whether you want to go to university or do an apprenticeship. But an apprenticeship is a way to get your foot in the door. It helps you to find the sector that you might want to work in and it can be eye-opening. It would definitely make you aware of whether you want to work in that industry or not. It’s a great way to learn how working life works.

This advertorial was first published in a sponsored report by Amazon on 26 April 2024. Read it in full here.

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