This month’s blog is written by Molly Prout, Aro’s first-ever Apprentice PR and Marketing Executive. Molly gives us the low down on how an apprenticeship is giving her the opportunity to earn a real salary and gain a real qualification, all whilst gaining valuable workplace skills and experience!
After finishing my A-levels, I started my apprenticeship at Aro PR and Marketing. The Devon-based company specialise in raising the profile of engineering, composites and scientific companies across aerospace, automotive, marine, energy and science.
From originally wanting to be a vet, I gained some work experience in the field of PR. The complete change in career came as a shock to friends and family as most didn’t (and still don’t) understand what PR is! When I finally decided that PR was something that I was interested in pursuing, I started to look at different university courses. Undecided in what I wanted to study I started to think about the apprenticeship route. Fate was obviously on my side as I was informed that Aro was looking for a PR apprentice. I contacted Billy immediately, was successful in the interview process and here I am today!
Not really knowing what to expect, I started my first day with an open mind; excited about what I was going to learn. From the moment I stepped into the office, the team greeted me and made me feel welcome. I settled in instantly and felt like I had been there ages!
Being a small business, means we all work closely with each other and can respond quickly to our client’s needs. It also allows me, as an apprentice, to work with actual real-life clients (not doing the tea run and photocopying) whilst always having excellent guidance whenever I need it. This opportunity to get stuck in from the very first day means that I was able to build a close relationship with the clients I work with and, although I have only been at Aro for 8 months, I feel am able to help them us much as possible.
Day to day, my job changes. From planning and posting social media content, to drafting, distributing and ‘selling-in’ press releases to the media, to general business admin; no two days are ever the same. I enjoy the variety of the work as it allows me to see lots of sides to PR as well as key things that make the business run.
One of my favourite parts of the job is the social media management. This allows me to not only to develop skills regarding what is best to post for the client. It also gives me an overview on the latest news from the industry allowing me to develop a deeper understanding of the different sectors we operate in. From the posts, we can see trends in what the followers of the social media platforms engage with the most.
As part of my apprenticeship, I use Fridays to complete my course work. As well as this, I have attended two PRCA training courses, one in Manchester introducing PR and one in Birmingham on selling into the media. The later was a skill I struggled with, but the course gave me some great tips. I also attend webinars to add to my knowledge of PR.
My job isn’t just based in the office but all over the country. I have attended client meetings and pitches from Bodmin, in Cornwall, to the north of the country in Manchester. I have also represented Aro at the Advanced Engineering Show 2018, the largest engineering trade show in the UK. This was a great opportunity to meet our clients and also the editors I work with on a weekly basis.
I am glad that I chose the apprenticeship route over going to university as it allows me to gain experience whilst earning a qualification (and money)! Not only am I learning the theory behind PR, but I am also working with clients at the same time, putting that theory into practice. This means I can learn whilst also honing skills such as talking with clients and developing professional relationships. This has, so far, not only helped me within PR but I have developed confidence as a person. Only time will tell, but I hope that by choosing the apprenticeship route, my hands-on practical experience combined with my professional qualification will make me extremely employable!